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May 21, 2014 12:16 pm

Israel Ministerial Committee Approves Plan to Double Chinese Exports to $5 Billion

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Benjamin Netanyahu with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at an official welcoming ceremony. Photo: Israel GPO.

The Israeli Ministerial Committee on China Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Tuesday night approved a plan to double bilateral trade with China in five years, setting an export goal of $5 billion per year.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Israeli government said it would allocate NIS 49 million ($14 million) annually to support the plan.

Israeli commercial exports to China have grown from $878 million in 2009 to $2.47 billion in 2013. Exports of tourist services to China have more than doubled, from $30 million in 2009 to $65 million in 2013.

The committee, which appointed National Economic Council Chairman Prof. Eugene Kandel to head the task force on expanding trade with china, was created after Netanyahu’s visit to China a year ago. Kandel will also chair an inter-ministerial steering committee, composed of professional representatives from the Foreign, Finance and Economy ministries, to coordinate government assistance to strengthen bilateral economic ties with China.

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The plan focuses on knowledge-intensive industries, agriculture, environmental protection, energy, water technology and health, the government said. The working groups to be established in each field will work with their Chinese counterparts “and will advance Israeli companies’ capabilities in China as well as the possibility of mutual investments,” it said.

Within China, the plan calls for a designated operations center, while Israel’s Economy Ministry will also open a new economic office in China and consider a new visa policy to make it easier for Chinese business people, tourists and academics to visit Israel.

Last week, Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong visited Israel. Over the past year, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also visited Israel, as did many Chinese commercial delegations, including from Fosun, as well as a delegation of 15 mayors and provincial officials.

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