ECONOMY MINISTER Eli Cohen (right) poses with Gary Cohn, US President Donald Trump’s economic adviser, in Jerusalem..
(photo credit: ECONOMY MINISTRY)
In a first meeting on Tuesday with a Trump administration economic official, Economy Minister Eli Cohen and his American colleague called for increased collaborations between two already robust trade and research partners.
Cohen met that morning in Jerusalem with Trump’s economic adviser, Gary Cohn, who also serves as director of the US National Economic Council. Both Cohen and Cohn agreed to continue strengthening economic ties between the countries by increasing trade and investment opportunities, as well as by promoting research and development partnerships.
“Israel occupies a central place in the new economic world in which technology companies are replacing energy companies as world leaders,” Cohen said. “The agreement to preserve and strengthen cooperation between the US and Israel, two countries characterized by the greatest technological leadership in the world, is a key toward strengthening the economies of the countries.
“Strengthening economic relations with our neighbors will serve as a basis for future a political settlement,” he added.
Israel was first country to sign a free trade agreement with the US – in 1985 – while the US was the second country to sign one with Israel, second only to the European Union. Since the signing of that agreement, economic relations between the countries have expanded and diversified, leading Israel to become one of the 25 most important export destinations for the US, despite its small size, according to the ministry.
Excluding diamonds, the volume of goods traded between the two countries stands at $20.3 billion, of which about $11.5b. were exports from Israel to the US, data from the ministry said.
At the Tuesday meeting, the officials also discussed the importance of bilateral R&D programs, including the 800 projects already funded by the Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation.
“The US is our greatest and most important friend, and is the most important trade partner to Israel,” Cohen said. “We will continue to work together to expand the volume of exports to the US and investments in Israel from the US.”