Minister Aryeh Deri. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Aryeh Deri
Zhan Yongxin, Chinese ambassador to Israel

Zhan Yongxin, Chinese ambassador to Israel, attends the Dragon Boats Carnival held in Tel Aviv in May. (Tomer Neuberg/FLASH90)

Minister of Economy Aryeh Deri and Chinese Ambassador to Israel Zhan Yongxin met for the first time to discuss their countries’ mutual interest in free trade. 

Minister of Economy Aryeh Deri met on Monday for the first time with Chinese Ambassador to Israel Zhan Yongxin in Jerusalem , where they discussed issues of mutual interest to the two countries and, specifically, the establishment of a free trade agreement.

Yongxin reiterated China’s commitment to begin negotiations for an agreement, as first announced by Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang in March in his report to China’s National People’s Congress.

Both sides underscored their mutual desire to bolster economic ties and expand Chinese investments in Israel, which have so far reached $6 billion. They also agreed that a free trade deal could bring bilateral ties to a new level and result in meaningful economic benefit to both sides.

“The Israeli Ministry of Economy is concentrating efforts to promote and expand the trade ties between the two countries,” Deri stated.

To this end, the ministry operates various tools to support Israeli companies doing business in China, “such as dedicated funds for projects in the People’s Republic of China, supporting incoming and outgoing delegations and of course, our trade attachés posted across China,” he added.

China and Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Liu Yandong, Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China, at a joint press conference in Jerusalem in May 2014. (Emil Salman/Flash90)

The Economy Ministry’s Foreign Trade Administration, which is expected to lead the negotiations for free trade with China, is preparing for the talks by consulting trade and industry officials regarding Israel’s specific interests.

The Foreign Trade Administration operates five trade attachés across China. There are two in Beijing, including one who focuses on policy and regulation; one in Guangzhou; one in Shanghai and one in Hong Kong. There equals the number of attachés in the US, and the goal is to continue expanding the distribution of trade missions in China.

China is Israel’s largest trading partner in Asia and fast becoming perhaps Israel’s largest trading partner period as we move into the future,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated in May 2014. A year earlier, Netanyahu visited China to advance Israeli-Chinese relations.

By: United with Israel Staff

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