Minister of the Economy Naftali Bennett announced during his visit to China that Beijing officials have agreed to carry out a survey to determine the value of a free trade policy.
China previously has rejected approaches from Israel that it conduct a study, and this week’s agreement, a pre-condition for a trade agreement, was unexpected.
It probably will take one to two years to complete the survey, which will be the basis for a free-trade agreement with Israel if the results are positive.
Bennett told Globes, “Trade between Israel and China totals about $8 billion annually, and forecasts are that such an agreement would considerably increase the amount so that more and more small and medium Israeli companies could become involved in bilateral economic activities with China.”
Israel’s exports to China in 2012 rose 0.9% to $2.74 billion, with a large part attributed to exports from Intel and Israel Chemicals.
“The Chinese pay major attention to Israel. The Chinese government has taken a strategic decision to strengthen economic relations with Israel and good things are happening between the two countries in this sphere” an official accompanying Bennett told Globes.