British Government’s Current Position: Trade with Israel

Question by Ben Lake (Plaid Cymru) on 17th June 2020 (60846)

Israeli Settlements: Companies 60846 To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 8 June 2020 to Question 55878 on Israeli Settlements: Companies, what assessment he has made of the applicability of United Nations Security Council Resolution 465 to those companies.

Answer from James Cleverley (Conservative) on 22nd June 2020

The UK supports existing UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs), including UNSCR 465, and will do so until an agreement is negotiated by the parties. Our position on settlements is clear: they are illegal under international law and damaging to renewed efforts to launch peace negotiations. As I made clear in my answer of 8 June 2020 (55878), ultimately it is the decision of an individual or company whether to operate in settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The British Government is clear that it neither encourages nor offers support to such activity.

Question by Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 15th June 2020 (HL5731)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that their trade agreements will not be made with businesses which (1) exist within, or (2) support, any Israeli settlement considered to be illegal under international law.

Answer from Lord Grimstone of Boscobel on 25th June 2020

The United Kingdom does not recognise the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including settlements, as part of Israel. For this reason, goods originating from settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are not covered by the United Kingdom-Israel Trade and Partnership Agreement, which enters into force at the end of the Transition Period.

Question asked by James Murray (Labour) on 8th June 2020 – Imports: Israel 56193

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the import of (a) fresh fruit, (b) vegetables and (c) dairy products, from Israel, whether HMRC accepts Israeli certificates of conformity with marketing standards (i) where the place of origin is within the internationally recognised borders of Israel and (ii) where goods originate from settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Answer by Victoria Prentis (Conservative) on 22nd June 2020

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs take steps to exclude the possibility that goods of West Bank origin enter the United Kingdom incorrectly described as being Israeli. This is to prevent them benefitting from preferential tariffs in accordance with the terms of EU-Israel Association Agreement and the technical arrangements which flow from this.

EU rules do not allow the authorities in any exporting third country (such as the State of Israel) to issue valid certificates of conformity with EU marketing standards for fruit and vegetables originating outside that third country. This includes territories under Israeli administration since June 1967, for example, the West Bank. The situation referred to by the hon. Member in respect of imports originating in Israeli settlements on the West Bank cannot, therefore, arise.

EU rules allow third countries to issue a certificate of conformity, confirming compliance with marketing standards. However, that does not mean that every import consignment will be accompanied by such a document. Importers can also apply for a certificate directly from an EU Member State’s authority.

For dairy products, certificates of conformity with marketing standards are not required regardless of the origin of imports. The EU marketing standards legislation will form part of UK statute and will continue to apply in the UK after the transition period.

Q Asked by Baroness Tonge (Independent) 14 January 2019

Department for International Trade: Arms Trade: Israel. HL12816

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they had made of the use of military goods sold to Israel by the UK; and whether they have sought any assurances that such goods are used for defence purposes only.

A Answered by: Baroness Fairhead (Conservative) on 28 January 2019

Military items sold to other countries by the UK require export licences. Export licence applications are rigorously assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking account of all prevailing circumstances at the time of the application. Signed end user undertakings from the intended recipient, about the intended end use, form part of our consideration but we do not rely solely on these when making our assessment.

Following events in 2018 on the Israel/Gaza border the Government reviewed all extant military export licences for Israel. We have no information to indicate that UK-supplied equipment has been used in a way that is inconsistent with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. The Government continues to monitor the situation in Israel and Gaza very closely.

Q Asked by Richard Burden: (Labour, Birmingham, Northfield) [N] on: 05 February 2019

Department for International Trade: Trade Agreements: Israel. 216929

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if he will place in the Library a copy of the draft UK-Israel agreement that has been agreed in principle for trading arrangements after the UK leaves the EU.

A Answered by: George Hollingbery (Conservative) Answered on: 08 February 2019

The UK and Israel have a strong and important trading relationship. However, we do not recognise the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), including the settlements, as part of Israel. The OPTs are not covered by the current EU-Israel Association Agreement, nor by the Continuity Agreement agreed in principle between the UK and Israel.

We are also working to finalise the transition of the current EU Interim Association Agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

We have committed to informing Parliament as soon as agreements are signed with partner countries. The agreement will be laid in Parliament and we will be publishing a full report on trade agreements, once they are signed.

Q Asked by Richard Burden: (Labour, Birmingham, Northfield)[N] on: 05 February 2019

Department for International Trade: Trade Agreements: Israel. 216930

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the trade deal agreed in principle between the UK and Israel for trade after the UK leaves the EU announced on 23 January 2019 will continue to distinguish in relevant dealings between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.

A Answered by: George Hollingbery (Conservative) on 08 February 2019

The UK and Israel have a strong and important trading relationship. However, we do not recognise the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), including the settlements, as part of Israel. The OPTs are not covered by the current EU-Israel Association Agreement, nor by the Continuity Agreement agreed in principle between the UK and Israel.

We are also working to finalise the transition of the current EU Interim Association Agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

We have committed to informing Parliament as soon as agreements are signed with partner countries. The agreement will be laid in Parliament and we will be publishing a full report on trade agreements, once they are

Q Asked by Dr Matthew Offord: (Conservative, Hendon) on: 04 February 2019

Department for International Development: Occupied Territories: Economic Situation. 216233

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to develop long-term economic sustainability in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

A Answered by: Alistair Burt (Conservative) Answered on 11 February 2019

We have scaled up our work on economic development across the West Bank and Gaza. We are providing up to £38 million over five years (2018-2023) to help tackle the problems of low growth and high unemployment in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs).

Our support will focus on efforts to increase trade and job creation by working with the Palestinian and Israeli authorities to enable greater movement and access for people and goods, and improve water and energy supply, particularly in Gaza. We will also continue to support the implementation of Paris Protocol measures in relation to the transfer of taxes and fees Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA), and any measures agreed by the parties to transfer the responsibility of revenue collection. Our support in these areas will help thousands of Palestinians in their daily lives, support the financial sustainability of the PA and contribute to preserving the viability of the two-state solution.

Q Asked by Lord Warner 28 January 2019

Treasury: Double Taxation: Israel. HL13187

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