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May 20, 2014 7:12 am

Israel’s Cabinet Approves Netanyahu, Lieberman’s Plan to Strengthen Economic Ties With Pacific Alliance, Latin America

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beitenu chairman Avigdor Lieberman. Photo: LIFE.

The Cabinet of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coalition government on Sunday approved a plan to expand economic ties with the Pacific Alliance countries and Latin America.

The initiative was presented by the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

The approximately NIS 50 million, 2014-2017 plan includes the reopening of an Israeli embassy in Paraguay; the establishment of a joint agricultural research fund with Mexico; progress toward signing financial protocols with Colombia, Brazil and Chile; and cooperation in industrial research and development that will financed by the State of Israel and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), with NIS 7 million from each side.

The five Latin American countries in the Pacific Alliance pact  — Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Peru and Costa Rica — have a combined GDP of approximately $3 trillion, which constitutes 40 percent of Latin America’s GDP. They form the sixth largest economy in the world, concentrate 50 percent of Latin America’s trade and 26 percent of its foreign investments (over $70 billion).

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“We are making a very concentrated and focused effort to vary our markets, from our previous dependence on the European market, to the growing Asian and Latin American markets, in which Israel needs to take a small market share and bring about growth, employment and social welfare in the State of Israel,” Netanyahu told ministers at his government’s weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday. “This is a strategic and – I think – a very promising effort. It has already begun to show results and will continue to do so. I would like all ministers, each in his or her own field, to join this important effort.”

In 2012, Israeli exports to Pacific alliance member states was just over $1 billion. Last February, Israel became an observer in the Pacific Alliance. The Jewish state is invited to take part in the staff work of the Pacific alliance and attend its conferences, leading to advanced cooperation with its member states.

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