Flurry of foreign delegations arrive

The Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico, is in Israel this week with the Slovakian business delegation.

Israel has seen a flurry of foreign business delegations arriving here over the last few months to meet with local industry and government leaders in the hopes of expanding economic cooperation between their countries and Israel. This week is particularly busy with groups arriving from the Ivory Coast, Slovakia and Argentina as guests of the Israel Export Institute to discuss expansion of trade for products ranging from cosmetics to honey as well as share ideas and knowledge in the realm of transportation, tourism, electricity and infrastructure. David Artzi, chairman of the Export Institute said 2007 has already been a very busy year for foreign delegations as the Export Institute hosted 300 businessmen from more than 20 countries in January, and over the course of their visit, the Institute arranged more than 600 private meetings for members of the group with Israeli CEOs and industrialists. Artzi pointed out that Israel has become a magnet for foreign investment given its position among the world leaders in technology and military equipment development. Meanwhile, the Institute noted that over the last year eight Israeli manufacturers established operations in Slovakia, bringing the total number of Israeli companies in that country to 168, while exports to Slovakia reached $12 million, representing 2% growth. The Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico, is in Israel this week with the Slovakian business delegation. On Monday, he met with CEO of Ness Technologies, Sachi Gerlitz, in which the two discussed the success and future expansion of Ness in Slovakia. Additionally, it was reported by the Institute that exports to Argentina grew 14% to $80m., and 35 Israeli manufacturers co-located to the South American country, bringing the total of Israeli companies with operations there to 393. Also arriving in Israel this week is a delegation of top US leaders in the information technology, enterprise software and telecommunication arenas who will be here to explore partnerships and acquisitions with Israeli hi-tech and venture capital leaders, as well as be introduced to 12 Israeli start-ups selected by Ernst and Young. Their visit is being coordinated by The California Israel Chamber of Commerce. On the flip side, a group of CEOs from 13 Israeli superconducter companies are leaving for China this week to meet with their Chinese counterparts in Shanghai to discuss expanded cooperation between the countries and to build off of 2006, when they did $317m. worth of trade in the superconducter sector, equaling 98% growth from 2005. Additionally, Israeli and Chinese representatives met on Monday in Tel Aviv to discuss options for investment in the hi-tech sector in China.