Israel, China launch joint task force for expanding ties

Two states build on bilateral relations, look to increase cooperation, strengthen economic ties.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Chinese and Israeli businessmen. (photo credit: AVI OHAYON - GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Chinese and Israeli businessmen.
(photo credit: AVI OHAYON - GPO)
Under the framework of the recently launched Chinese-Israeli “Water City” project, 20 officials from the municipality of Shouguang are visiting the country this week to explore a variety of Israeli innovations across the sector, the Economy Ministry announced on Monday.
The trip to Israel follows Economy Minister Naftali Bennett’s November visit to China, during which Israeli and Chinese officials declared the eastern Chinese coastal city of Shouguang as the future hub – or “Water City” – for Israeli water activities in the Asian nation. At the time, the decision was made by Israeli and Chinese government officials that Israeli water technologies would be implemented on a commercial scale in Shouguang, serving as potentially adaptable models for other areas in China.
Shouguang, located adjacent to the Laizhou Bay in the Shangdong province, is about 500 km. southeast of Beijing and 800 km. north of Shanghai.
In return for hosting the companies, Shouguang would receive access to advanced technologies in the fields of desalination, sewage treatment, irrigation, agricultural water reuse, water supply and more.
The Economy Ministry views China as a rapidly growing market in the water sector, which necessitates enormous infrastructure construction and upgrades due to rapid urbanization. In addition, the country’s development rate of polluting industries requires the integration of technologies that can preserve the environment, the ministry added.
To implement the Water City project, a joint working group between Israeli and Chinese experts is being head by Economy Ministry director- general Amit Lang.
“The Water City initiative in China is a concrete example of advancement of trade relations of Israel with China, and the Economy Ministry recognizes its importance as a target market,” Lang said. “The Chinese market holds many opportunities for Israeli industry in a variety of fields and disciplines, while the Israeli water sector has tremendous potential to bring about capital- intensive projects.”
The delegation of about 20 officials from Shouguang is in Israel from Monday through Wednesday, in the first of a series of working visits regarding the Water City project.
The visit is expected to signal the beginning of the stage of identifying suitable Israeli companies and technologies to operate their systems in the Chinese city. The ministry’s Israel NewTech branch is organizing tours for the delegation and has arranged for their participation in a seminar about Shouguang’s challenges and needs, which will include meetings with Israeli companies.
In addition, the Economy Ministry’s Foreign Trade Administration said it will soon be launching a competitive process to select a consortium for administrating the project, which will be funded by the Chinese partners.
“Israel is known as a global leader in the water industry, both in terms of building a national water sector on a policy and regulatory level and in terms of the development of innovative technologies,” said Ziva Eiger, director of the Economy Ministry’s foreign investment and industrial cooperation department. “Projects in the water sector are large and complex by nature, especially when it comes to a big country like China. The Water City’s launch may pave the way for the Israeli water industry’s penetration into the Chinese market, and constitutes a major initiative for government- business cooperation between Israel and China.”