The Queen celebrating her birthday at the weekend. (Photo:Getty)
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Weekly round-up: politics, business and news from Gibraltar

A selection of the best articles about politics, business and life on the Rock from the last seven days.

A pall hung over the beginning of the week as a road accident en route from the football match against Germany claimed the life of an individual in the other vehicle. Tributes have been paid in the National and elsewhere. Some fans on the coach involved were injured.

Tributes of a happier nature were paid over the weekend to the Queen on the occasion of her birthday. MercoPress reports that two Spanish guards came to pay their respects – in uniform, which is unusual.

In the business world the Gibraltar International Bank has struck a new outsourcing deal with NCR, says a press release on Businesswire. This will work in conjunction with local business BSG Computer Systems. Perhaps of more immediate interest to local people is the forthcoming establishment of Blue Water, Gibraltar, which EuroWeekly News says will involve a £1.1bn spend and bring both jobs and homes to the Rock.

Finally a couple of events of local interest are happening. The Calentita Food Festival over the weekend (our article on it is here) will have had a small fillip. The Olive Press reports that the book on Gib cuisine, “Mama Lotties – Gibraltarian Inspired Recipes” by Justin Bautista came third in the self-published section of the Gourmand Book Awards. And second, the Olive Press (again) reports that the Migres Foundation is on the lookout for volunteer bird watchers to monitor activity on the Strait from early July.

Guy Clapperton is the freelance journalist who edits the New Statesman’s Gibraltar hub. You can also find him in the Guardian, Computer Business Review and Professional Outsourcing which he edits.

Photo: Getty
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A new Chamber of Commerce to be launched on the Rock between Gibraltar and Israel

For Israeli companies, Gibraltar can serve as an ideal testing ground for new technologies as well as the ultimate gateway into the bigger European markets. 

On the 28th of October, a new Chamber of Commerce between Gibraltar and Israel is going to be launched on the Rock, under the name “Gibrael”. This is the second bi-national Chamber of Commerce to be established in Gibraltar after AmCham was founded a couple of years ago, between Gibraltar and the United States. Gibrael is the brainchild of Eran Shay and Ayelet Mamo Shay, who have moved to Gibraltar over 8 years ago and run a local business & strategic consultancy firm called Benefit Business Solutions, which assist companies from around the world in using Gibraltar as a gateway to Europe.   

What made you decide to establish the Chamber of Commerce between Gibraltar and Israel?

The idea to launch “Gibrael” came from the realization that there are many potential synergies between Gibraltar and Israel. Over the last few years, both the Government of Gibraltar and local businesses are thirsty for innovative technologies and we thought Israel, who is renowned worldwide for being the “start-up nation” and a place from where many leading technologies have emerged, could best answer these needs. For Israeli companies, Gibraltar can serve as an ideal testing ground for new technologies as well as the ultimate gateway into the bigger European markets. There are benefits for both countries, and Gibrael would act as a bridge connecting people and facilitating business from both sides. 

What is it about Gibraltar that makes it attractive to Israeli companies?

Gibraltar’s membership of the EU along with its most attractive tax regime in the EU (10% corporate tax, no VAT, no capital gains tax, no tax on investment income, no dividends tax and other benefits) makes Gibraltar an attractive place for Israeli companies in which to establish a base as part of their expansion strategy to the European markets.

Technology testing and other pilot studies is an important milestone prior to mass marketing. Companies who wish to enter the European markets often want to test their technologies in an EU compliant environment under European standards and regulation. Due to its small size, Gibraltar has fewer bureaucratic layers than most other countries, making access to key decision makers, both in Government and in industry much simpler and quicker. Thus, there are much fewer bureaucratic hurdles in Gibraltar for companies to get approvals, licences or certification than in bigger countries. Gibraltar is a small contained economy (measuring 7sq kilometres), making it easier to administer and run pilot testing schemes and be in close geographical proximity to all test sites. Moreover, most start-ups have limited financial and human resources which impede on their ability to test trial their technology in the large countries thereby creating a barrier to entry to the big European markets.

Gibraltar’s unique advantages significantly reduce time to market and provide cost efficiencies to companies who wish to access the European markets. Innovative companies in the fields of FinTech, CleanTech, Telecom, smart city solutions, homeland security and more are already here and ripping the benefits of testing their innovative technologies first in Gibraltar, before moving on to the bigger markets in Europe.

Israeli companies from what sectors are likely to benefit from doing business in Gibraltar?  

Israeli FinTech startups and established financial services companies, including banks, insurance companies, funds, and asset managers can benefit from Gibraltar’s EU membership by becoming regulated in Gibraltar and then “passporting” their licence to the rest of the EU. This is also true for e-money type operations such as Forex trading platforms, electronic wallets, payment processing companies and other innovative financial services. The Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (FSC) is recognized for its quality by the IMF and boasts an accessible and user-friendly approach.

Another popular sector which has already seen vast Israeli involvement is the eGaming sector.  Gibraltar is home to 35 of the biggest names in the online gaming industry. Being close to these top operators, acts a magnate to related support services and software development companies who wish to enter this lucrative market.

Other types of eBusinesses such as online retailers, ePublishing, online marketing agencies and more can also benefit from Gibraltar’s position as a hub on the Europe-India internet gateway, offering bandwidth capacity of 3.84 Terabit. In addition, the Rock’s territorial tax system implies that income generated from outside Gibraltar is potentially exempt from tax in Gibraltar- a huge benefit for such companies.   

Finally, the fact that Gibraltar does not have a manufacturing sector and almost completely relies on imports for its domestic needs, means that manufacturers of finished goods, equipment, machinery and consumer goods, can explore opportunities in this market.    

What is planned for the Gibraltar-Israel launch event?  

This is going to be a high profile event, in the presence of the Chief Minister and other ministers from the Gibraltar Government, delegates from the Gibraltar Finance Centre and other local associations and various business leaders. The Israeli delegation will include the Economic Attaché from the Israeli Embassy in London, representatives from several Israeli trade and industry associations, and various CEOs of Israeli corporates. There will be opportunities for one-to-one meetings as well as networking dinners.    

For further details on the event please contact Eran Shay at