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Elham AbolFateh
AR
Monday 24 April 2017

World

PM Netanyahu heads to China to bolster economic ties

Sunday 19/March/2017 - 09:48 PM
Sada El Balad
Edited by Ahmed Moamar
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left for a five-day visit to Beijing Saturday night to mark 25 years of diplomatic relations between China and Israel.
During his visit to the Chinese capital، Netanyahu will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping، who will host the Israeli prime minister for an official state dinner، and with Prime Minister Li Keqiang، as Israel Hayom said.
Science Minister Ofir Akunis، Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin، Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen and Health Minister Yakov Litzman are accompanying Netanyahu on the trip. Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel was also scheduled to join the delegation to Beijing، but decided to remain in Israel after learning the agreements he was poised to sign with his Chinese counterpart had not yet been prepared. Agriculture Ministry Director General Shlomo Ben Eliyahu، who has been in China since last week، will sign the agreements in Ariel's place if they are completed.
According to the Prime Minister's Office، the official visit will focus on further strengthening Israel's economic cooperation with the Chinese government، with the aim of increasing Israeli exports to China and Chinese investments in Israel، as well as fostering corporate collaboration in the fields of industry and research between the two countries. Netanyahu will sign a series of economic agreements meant to assist Israeli companies operating in China، and he will also meet with the heads of some of China's largest corporations.
Before departing for Beijing، Akunis said the two countries would sign an agreement that would allocate 56 million shekels ($15.4 million) to the promotion of joint research between Israel and China in the fields of neuroscience، water technology، smart biomedical technology، and smart cities.
According to Akunis، these types of agreements reflect Israel's global status as a "leader in science and innovation. All over the world، people want to deepen their cooperation with us and learn how to become a high-tech nation."
The Foreign Ministry is also expected to sign a bilateral agreement to have young leaders from Israel and China take part in a cultural exchange program.
A senior business delegation comprising officials from a variety of Israeli industries and companies already active or interested in the Chinese market will also accompany Netanyahu in Beijing. Members of the delegation، along with over 500 guests، will take part in a business forum chaired by Netanyahu.
According to data provided by the Israel Export Institute، bilateral trade between the two countries totaled $9 billion in 2016، an increase of 6% from the previous year. Israeli exports to China grew 3% from 2015 to total $3.2 billion in 2016، and constituted 35% of trade volume between the countries last year.

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