from the July 2013 issue

Israel and China sign $400m trade agreement

A day after India made a major investment in an Israeli technology fund, today comes word that Israel and China signed a $400 million trade agreement on May 8th, bringing the financial relationship between the two countries to more than $2 billion.

The deal - signed by Finance Ministry Accountant-General Michal Abadi-Boiangiu and officials from China's Finance Ministry - was agreed upon shortly after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived on a five-day trip to China that saw him greeted with full military honours including a 19-gun salute outside the Great Hall of the People in the capital, and called for closer trade ties between the two nations.

"Our two peoples are two ancient peoples with a glorious past, a difficult in-between period, and then soaring into the future," Netanyahu told Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang. "I think Israel can be the perfect junior partner for China in its pursuit of economic excellence and competitive advantage by offering our technological capabilities."

"This is a very important agreement for expanding bilateral cooperation. China is a vast market and if we even slightly increase our market share here it will significantly help the Israeli economy," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu said that Israeli-Chinese trade amounted to some $8 billion each year, and the two countries were constantly working to increase that amount. "The potential for bilateral trade is vast," he said.

Since the signing of the initial financial protocols, Israel has exported a total of some $771 million worth of goods and services to China, according to the Prime Minister's office.

Earlier, the prime minister met with his Chinese counterpart at a formal ceremony, complete with honor guard, in Beijing. During the meeting, the two leaders agreed to establish a joint team which will work on expanding technological cooperation between the two countries.

In the afternoon, Netanyahu participated in a live video chat with millions of Chinese Internet users, hosted by the popular government-sponsored Xinhua News Agency.

Most of the questions revolved around Israel-Chinese relations. Netanyahu, who visited China 15 years ago during his first term as prime minister in 1998, said that he was impressed by the "development, progress and tremendous growth" he saw in China.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report July 2013

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