Israel has formulated a three-year programme with a budget of 100 million shekels (approx USD 26 million) to boost its exports to target destinations, India and China.
A joint committee of the Finance and Industry Ministries formulated the programme at the instructions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had asked to examine ways to increase exports to the two Asian giants, Israel National News reported today.
The committee is headed by the Director General of Israel's Finance Ministry, Haim Shani. "The plan presented today is the first component of a series of measures to support increasing trade with China and India and is coming out of a strategic economic grasp of their place in the global economic map.
"Future steps will emphasise the relative advantages of Israel, in innovation, higher education and entrepreneurship," Shani told the news portal.
The programme aims to increase the number of Israeli exporters operating in markets in India and China, to diversify the composition of Israel's exports and to generate sustainable growth avenues that will strengthen the Israeli industry and increase its resilience in the face of the challenges it faces in coming years.
Israel's Foreign Trade Policy describes China and India's as target countries for trade due to their rapid economic growth, which poses great opportunities for the Israeli economy and constitutes an enormous potential for its companies.
The Israeli Ministry of Industry, Labour and Trade is said to have conducted comprehensive consultations with representatives from the industries in recent months to build the programme. It has been designed for SMEs who have proven excellence and innovation in their fields of activity.
India has leaped to become Israel's second largest export destination, only next to close ally the United States. As per the figures provided by Israel's Export and International Cooperation Institute, India jumped from the eighth position to second as the favoured destination for Israeli exports in the first half of 2010.
Israeli exports to India in the first half of last year equalled USD 990 million, an increase of 102 per cent compared to the year before.
The reason for this sharp jump was a 63 per cent leap in exports by Israel's mining, minerals and quarrying sector, which exported USD 228 million worth of products, mainly fertilisers, to the sub-continent. One of the biggest exporters to India in this sector was Dead Sea Works , a subsidiary of Israel Chemicals .
Electronics equipment, including warfare systems, exports to India grew from less than USD 10 million in the first half of 2009 to USD 160 million last year, the institute reported. Major exporters in this sector included ECI Telecom and Comverse , TowerJazz, Elbit Systems and Rafael.
Israeli exports to India of metals and metal products also increased from USD 21 million to USD 130 million, a sharp increase of 524 per cent. India and Israel have registered phenomenal growth in bilateral trade starting from humble figures of USD 200 million in 1992 when diplomatic relations were established between the two countries and approaching the USD 4 billion mark with still room for improvement.
Business analysts in Israel have long urged Israel's manufacturers to step up marketing to the faster-growing economies of Asia at the expense of the West in order to sustain export growth.