FICC plans info exchange for traders [p.17]

Operating on a global platform could become easier for Israeli companies with the planned launch of a new program by the Federation of the Israeli Chambers of Commerce to advance the business interests of both exporters and importers. The idea behind the program is to provide an exchange of information and services to ease the difficulty for Israeli companies interested in conducting business in a foreign country and also for business in other countries looking to expand into Israel. "We are finding means for mutual cooperation for different chambers of commerce all over the world," Devorah Fuchs, the Federation's international director, said Wednesday. As part of the program, the Federation will help its member businesses with services such as setting up meetings in other countries, finding business partners and market research. "If we didn't have an agreement with other countries, our abilities would be limited," Fuchs said. "Now we have someone who will be there who can do it for us." The program, which will launch early in 2007, has been under development for two years with pilot agreements already in place with counterpart organizations in Romania, Austria and Cyprus, Fuchs affirmed. As a result of the experiences accumulated through the pilot program, the Federation discovered that it had strong results with helping companies achieve world-wide networking, but that providing consultation on the particular laws and regulations in foreign countries was proving more difficult, Fuchs said. The Federation is currently working on developing reciprocal agreements in Russia, Bulgaria and Turkey. In addition, Israel is a member of the EuroChambers Commerce which is comprised of over 44 European member-states and plans to use the organization's framework to develop further mutual contracts, Fuchs explained.