Israel, PA agree to restart economic cooperation

Lapid intends to advance economic issues with Ramallah; successfully meets with PA finance minister Shukri Bishari.

June 16, 2013 17:54
1 minute read.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid shakes hands with his PA counter part  Shukri Bishara

Lapid and Bishara 370. (photo credit: Anat Hamemi)

Finance Minister Yair Lapid and his Palestinian counterpart Shukri Bishari agreed on Sunday to restart economic cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

During their meeting at the Finance Ministry in Jerusalem – their first – the two discussed confidence-building measures over a set timeframe, and agreed to discuss joint investments and trade in the future meetings.

“Economic cooperation will contribute to Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” Lapid said. “We will continue to strengthen ties and advance the economic subjects on both sides.”

Renewing economic cooperation with Israel may throw a lifeline to the stagnant Palestinian economy and its heavily indebted government. Last week, the PA announced that its debts had reached $4.2 billion, and that it would need assistance in order to continue paying salaries.

In March, a World Bank report on the Palestinian economy found that it had experienced a steady decrease in exports and a shift to low added-value goods, while continued long-term unemployment could eat away at the economy’s long-term viability.

“Bolder efforts to create the basis for a viable economy need to be made to prevent the continued deterioration that will have lasting and costly implications for economic competitiveness and social cohesion,” the report said.

Giving the Palestinian economy a jump-start has been a central effort of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s plan to renew peace talks, announcing a plan to direct $4 billion of private investment toward the PA in May.

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