Israel and International law: Influencing the UK-Israel Free Trade Agreement

by Andrea Wong, Dina Gitlin-Leigh and Laura Bramall

Our project seeks to advocate for tighter provisions on goods originating in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the new UK-Israel Free-Trade Agreement. The territorial definition in the draft FTA is ambiguously worded and lacks an enforcement mechanism. If this is not changed, in the final FTA will allow for goods originating in the OPTs to access preferential tariffs, as it has done in the EU as a result of the EU-Israel FTA. This is contrary to the UK’s current position on the illegality of the OPTs and undermines the UK’s role as an upholder of international law.

MPs will become be aware of this issue and receive clear action points. This would apply pressure to the British Government to prioritise upholding the rule of law during their negotiations with Israel. Our project seeks to use this period of UK-Israel trade negotiations as an opportunity to advocate for an FTA that clearly excludes the OPTs and is enforceable.

A briefing paper for MPs would explain the necessity of a clear and enforceable territorial definition in the FTA, and be used as a basis for discussion in subsequent meetings with MPs, with the help of international law and trade experts. MPs will be prepared to respond to the FTA appropriately in the limited time period between when it is published and when it is due to be signed.