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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Local industry leaders are in Europe this week, calling on European Commission officials to enhance the expansion of bi-lateral trade relations between the EU and Israel.
During their visit to Brussels, Shraga Brosh, president of the Manufacturers Association of Israel and chairman of the Federation of Israeli Economic Organizations, and Gad Propper, chairman of the Israel-European Union Chambers of Commerce, will call on senior European Commission officials to multiply European investments into Israel by as much as 10 times to approach and even match the level of US investments.
Brosh noted that European investments make up less than 10 percent of total foreign investment into Israel, which amounted to $14 billion last year, while US investments into Israel made up 90% of total foreign investment.
Meanwhile, according to Brosh, the trade balance deficit between Israel and the European Union was expected to be cut by 20 percent to $3.4b. this year. In the first half, exports, excluding diamonds, from Israel to the European Union amounted to $6.05b., while imports, excluding diamonds, from European Union countries amounted to $7.66b. - a trade deficit of $1.6b.
In the meetings, Brosh also will suggest closer cooperation with the EU on the battle of import dumping cases from China by sharing more information between the organizations.
Other items on the agenda will include suggestions to try and ease the participation and involvement of the Israeli aviation and space industry into the EU's seven-year research and development framework program.
The program has an allocated budget of â‚¬50b. for the period of seven years, of which Israeli industry and research and academic institutes could benefit from â‚¬700 million in direct research grants.
In addition, Brosh will ask the European Commission to participate and cooperate on closer relations with the Israeli-Palestinian business sector to help stabilize economic relations within the region.
During their visit, Propper and Brosh will meet with Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of industry and enterprise Gunter Verheugen and EU Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, among others, as well as with 10 Members of the European Parliament and other business organizations.