PM Binyamin Netanyahu fisting_311.
(photo credit: GPO)
Israel needs a new approach to defy global conditions and continue strong
economic growth, and that starts with reaching new markets abroad and at home,
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday.
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The global economy will
stall in the near future, and Israel should concentrate its efforts on sending
exports to China, India, Brazil and other emerging economies, he said at the
Globes Israel Business Conference in Tel Aviv.
“In my opinion, any
Israeli who wants to go to China should go,” Netanyahu said. “Why?
Because it’s a massive, growing market, and if we obtain even a small portion of
it, we can increase our exports massively... we must increase the size of the
In addition to Asia, Latin America and Africa, the
Israeli economy must also reach new markets inside its own borders, he said,
referring to the Galilee and the Negev. The development of transportation
infrastructure leading in both directions, and the implementation of housing
reforms, would create a new vehicle for growth, he said.
students at Tel Hai Academic College, who were linked to the conference via live
feed, he urged them not to leave the Galilee, saying the region would turn into
The third and final approach Netanyahu said Israel
must take to ensure strong growth is through development of key industries:
water, agriculture, space and cyber. If Israel can successfully combine all
these new approaches, he said, then the “sky is the limit.”
reiterated that Israel must balance defense needs and the recommendations set
out in the Trajtenberg Report on socioeconomic change with the government’s
obligation to safeguard the economy in troubled times. He said too much
of the public discourse on the economy was about how to distribute the pie, and
not enough was about how to make that pie grow.
The only way to expand
the pie was by supporting the free market and allowing the private sector to
give the economy added value, Netanyahu said.
“The private sector is the
healthy horse that leads the cart,” he said. “I say that because there is a line
of thinking that the economy is created out of nowhere...growth is
created by the private sector, and those who forget that will eventually have it
backfire on them.”
The government would soon propose a bill based on
recommendations made by the Trajtenberg Committee, which dealt with
over-concentration within industries, and by the Committee on Strengthening
Market Competitiveness, which dealt with cross-ownership between the financial
and non-financial sectors, Netanyahu said. That would strengthen the private
sector, he said.
Some European nations are suffering today because of
over-regulation, while others are suffering because of under-regulation,
Netanyahu said. The main challenge for the government was striking the
right balance between competition and regulation, he said, and “we want the
horse to race between them.