Deals with China seen as boosting trade

Israel and China signed an agreement to establish a $3 million research and development fund.

Israel and China have signed an agreement for the establishment of a $3 million research and development fund as part of an increased effort to boost bilateral trade volume between the two countries to $10 billion by the end of 2008. The fund, in which each of the countries will invest $1.5m, will assist mutual projects in the fields of telecommunications, biotechnology, agrotechnology, medical equipment and the environment. In addition Raanan Dinur, Director General of the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Labor and Wei Jianguo, the Chinese vice minister of commerce signed a bilateral economic cooperation agreement to ease and boost trade relations. A joint working group would be set up to make it easier for Israeli companies to participate in Chinese governmental projects and by identifying mutual projects in the fields of agrotechnology and telecommunications. Since China and Israel established full diplomatic ties in 1992, its burgeoning bilateral trade with Israel reached a volume of $2.4b. in 2004. Israel-China trade totaled $1.49b. in January to August 2005. Dinur said that the trade volume between the two countries is expected to reach a record of over $3b in 2005. A third agreement regarding economic cooperation of small and medium-sized countries between the two countries was also signed. The Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor and the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute have chosen China as one of four preferred target countries for Israeli exports and will be opening an Israeli economic interests office in November in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen - the hub of the high-tech industry. China will also be taking part in next week's "Israel Gateway 3," the annual foreign trade conference organized together with the Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute, the Manufacturer's Association and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Labor. The event, which is expected to attract 23 delegations from Europe, the US, India and China focuses on strengthening and expanding bilateral trade relations and cooperation with Israel. The event will include exhibitions and presentations from the countries' foreign embassies and consulates in Israel or their Chambers of Commerce and international businesses and organizations. "There is a new trend emerging in our trade relationship with Israel. Trade has diversified from diamonds to other sectors, in particular the high-tech sector. As a result economic relations between the two countries have grown from $200m. in 2002 to more than $2.5b. in 2005. We are aiming to double bilateral trade to $5b. by 2008", said H.E. Arun K. Singh, the ambassador to Israel from India, ahead of the conference.