Plastics lead kibbutz exports past $2b. [pg. 17]

Kibbutz industry exports grew 12 percent in 2005 to $2.2 billion, led by plastics exports, the Kibbutz Industry Association said Monday. Exports of kibbutz-based industrial enterprises last year experienced the same slowdown in growth as in the rest of Israeli industry, backing down to its 2003 level from a 22% growth peak in 2004. "Kibbutz industry sees its primary direction of growth in increasing exports, especially to developing markets," said Amos Rabin, the association's director-general. Plastic products, accounting for nearly half of kibbutz industry exports, grew 16.6% to $1.1b. last year, having "definitive importance on the change in extent of exports for kibbutz industry as a whole," the association said. Growth in kibbutz plastic exports has maintained its pace, remaining in the realm of 18% growth in 2004 and 15% growth the year before, while growth of Israeli plastic and rubber products as a whole slowed to 6.1% in 2005 from 17.9% the year before. Exports of kibbutz food products grew 8.9% to $334 million, while metal products and machinery exports advanced 5.4% to $298m. Textiles and leather products exports grew 1.8% to $128m. from $126m. in 2004, while electronics exports grew 13% to $125m.; exports of medical and chemical products grew 15% to $78m.; quarrying and construction materials exports grew 9% to $59m.; optical and glass product exports stayed at $43m.; printshop and cardboard exports rose 19% to $43m.; decorative and art exports grew 15.3% to $15m.; and wood and furniture exports by kibbutz industry grew 1.3% to $2m. While kibbutz manufacturing exports to the European common market grew 7.9% to $1.05b. last year, exports to South America surged 28.1% to $63m.; Central America received 20.4% more kibbutz industry exports, reaching $50m.; exports to North America grew 21.8% to $533m.; exports to Africa grew 19.9% to $76m.; exports to Asia rose 12.5% to $185m.; exports to Eastern Europe grew 12.4% to $113m.; and those going to the rest of Europe rose 24.2% to $43m. Industrial kibbutz exports to Ukraine fell 13.7% to $70m. last year.