Photo Credit: Marc Israel Sellem / POOL
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads weekly cabinet meeting, March 16 2017

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to travel to China this Sunday (March 19) with five ministers on an official state visit at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, he announced in opening remarks at Thursday’s government cabinet meeting.

The visit will mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and China.

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The Chinese President will meet with Israel’s Prime Minister and host him for an official dinner, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement. The Prime Minister will also meet with his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang.

He will be accompanied by Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin, Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen, Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel.

“We will continue the talks on establishing a free trade agreement between China and Israel and we will hold the third joint Israel-China innovation conference,” the Prime Minister said. “Of course we are continuing to develop new markets and to open new markets for the Israeli economy. I expect all ministers to cooperate on this, and they are doing so.”

Israel and China will sign cooperation agreements in aviation, education, bringing Chinese construction workers to Israel, science, health, environmental protection and a multi-year plan for a task force on strengthening bilateral economic ties.

“The visit will stress the continued strengthening of economic cooperation with the Chinese government: Increased Israeli exports to China, attracting Chinese investments in Israel, and increased industrial and research cooperation between Chinese and Israeli companies,” the PMO said in its statement.

A series of economic agreements are to be signed during the visit that will boost Israeli industry by continuing to increase the number of companies active in, and exporting to China.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with the leaders of China’s largest corporations, “each one with turnovers of tens of billions of dollars.”

Also along for the trip will be a senior business delegation of “dozens” of Israeli business leaders from the various industries and companies already active in China, and those firms interested in entering the Chinese market. In addition to the conference, the Prime Minister will chair a business forum with more than 500 invited guests, along with the delegation members.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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