Urging Israeli companies to take part in cleaning up China’s ecosystem, Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday to collaborate on environmental technologies.
Alongside his Chinese counterpart Chen Jining, Elkin signed an agreement that calls for knowledge exchanges between both the two ministries, mutual visits and the integration of Israeli innovation into Chinese environmental programs.
The memorandum was among a series of agreements signed that morning at the Third Meeting of the China-Israel Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation, in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong.
“The issue of environmental protection has become very important among China’s priorities,” Elkin said.
“Cooperation can open up a rare window of opportunity for Israeli companies in the field of environmental technologies in China’s internal market, whose importance and scope is impossible to overstate. It is our job as a government to help the private sector and not miss this opportunity.”
The two ministers also discussed the New Silk Road initiative, an economic strategy launched by China to foster cooperation among countries located between China and Europe. Because about $1 trillion is expected to be invested in the initiative in the next decade, many opportunities exist for Israeli clean-tech companies to take part in projects shared by Israel, China and other countries along the Silk Road.
One economic opportunity already realized between Israel and China on Tuesday was a deal between their agriculture ministries. Ending years of negotiations, director-generals Shlomo Ben-Eliyahu and Bai Lu signed an agreement enabling the export of Israeli dairy products directly to China.
The agreement will enable Israeli farmers to significantly increase their milk production and will bring Chinese citizens cheese manufactured in Israeli dairy farms, a ministry statement explained.
“From today on, the Israeli Milky Way will reach China, which is great news for Israeli agriculture, the Israeli economy and the foreign relations of the State of Israel,” Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel said.
In addition to the many government- to-government technology deals that have been agreed upon during Netanyahu’s China visit, innovation partnerships in the private and academic sectors have also moved forward.
One such agreement occurred between Bank Leumi and Ping An Insurance, one of China’s largest insurance firms, to promote the entry and integration of Israeli hi-tech companies into the Chinese market.
Another deal cemented involved a $10 million partnership among the University of Haifa, the Chinese conglomerate Hangzhou Wahaha Group and the Institute of Automation at the Chinese Academy of Sciences to establish three artificial intelligence technology centers in Haifa, Hangzhou and Beijing. Financed by Chinese billionaire Zong Qinghou, chairman and CEO of the Hangzhou Wahaha Group, the centers will house research and development facilities focusing on the commercialization of artificial intelligence, according to the university.