Russia seeks to triple trade with Israel

Including indirect trade, Primakov is aiming for volume to reach $4.5 billion annually.

Russia is looking to triple its trade volume with Israel by 2010, former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov said after signing a pact in Tel Aviv this week to advance economic cooperation with Israel. "We see great opportunity for collaboration with Israel in business," Primakov said. "What we need most is to shorten the time between scientific development and the application of technology, which takes twice the time in Russia than in other developed countries." Including indirect trade, Primakov is aiming for volume to reach $4.5 billion annually. Primakov, in his current role as President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, and Shraga Brosh, chairman of the Federation of Israeli Economic Organizations, agreed to expand the level of joint projects between companies in the two organizations, with an emphasis on small- to medium-sized businesses. While there was some discrepancy between the two in what they thought the level of trade was at, Brosh said prior to the meeting that he expects annual trade volume between Russia and Israel to double to $1.4b. over the next five years. Israeli exports to Russia grew 30 percent to $401.5 million in 2005, while imports increased 8% to $262m. "The current direct trade figures are at $750m. and Primakov believes the level of indirect trade which we haven't accounted for is around the same amount," Brosh said. "Hopefully we can reach his goals in the coming years." Brosh called on Israeli companies to accept the challenge set by Primakov and supply the necessary trade. The agreement signed Sunday provides for an exchange of information related to all regulatory operations in international trade, and to have a regular dialogue in the form of seminars, delegations and events between the two organizations. In addition, over the next two months they will devise a working plan on which areas of cooperation they would focus on. Likely sectors, Brosh said, would be the telecommunications, information technology and agrotech industries. He added that representatives from both sides would meet again in two months time to put the plan into action. The collaboration marks the second time that Brosh has signed a pact to advance business activity between Russia and Israel in as many months. In March, he signed an agreement with Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs President Alexander Shokhin to cooperate actively in all matters concerning industry, mutual investment, trade and research and development. These come after he met with Shokhin and Primakov in December in Moscow, as head of an Israeli delegation to Moscow.