Exports to China totaled more than $1 billion in the first half of 2011, a 33
percent increase compared with the corresponding period last year, the Israel
Export Institute reported Wednesday.
Nevertheless, an additional NIS 900
million in potential exports would go untapped this year, the institute’s
director, Avi Hefetz, said at the first annual Israeli-Chinese business
conference in Ramat Gan.
“The Chinese economy is expected to continue to
grow in the coming years, as well, and is in need of a technological
infrastructure upgrade,” he said.
This presents an opportunity for
Israeli companies in the areas marked by the Chinese government for development
in the next five years, such as water, the environment, semiconductors and
medical devices, Hefetz said.
China is now the fourth-largest export
destination for Israeli products, according to the institute’s data, rising from
10th place in 2010. However, 70% of Israeli exports are concentrated in just
three of China’s 33 provincial-level regions: Shanghai, Guangdong in the South
and Sichuan in the southwest.
Dan Katrivas, head of the Manufacturers
Association of Israel’s foreign trade department, said Israel-China trade
relations could not move forward as long as Israel remains subservient to the
United States. He cited Israel’s $1b. sale of Falcon aircraft to China in
2000 and a multimilliondollar sale of Harpy UAVs in 2000, both of which were
canceled due to US pressure.
“The limits that Israel has placed on its
relationship with China because of the US has created a situation in which all
of Israel’s elite in the field of dual-usage technology [for civilian and
military purposes] aren’t part of exportation to China,” Katrivas said, “and
these are the things that are most needed in China.”
“This will continue
for many years – as long as our agreements with the Americans continue, as long
as they sit here and here,” he said, pointing to his shoulders and
Katrivas said manufacturers should take note that the Chinese are
not so interested in buying products made abroad, but rather are “interested in
us coming to them and selling over there.”
“If I were Chinese I would say
the same thing,” he said.
“We say, ‘Buy blue and white’; they say, ‘Buy
red.’ The Chinese want us for technology, knowledge and training and to get the maximum possible out of it."