Israel and China Commit to Completing a Free-Trade Agreement

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Vice Premier Liu Yandong met at the Israeli Foreign Ministry in March; parties agree that free-trade agreement will mutually benefit each other’s economies.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed gratitude and appreciation to visiting Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong for her determination and commitment to complete a free-trade agreement with Israel during a meeting at the Israeli Foreign Ministry on Tuesday.

“I was very glad to hear today from Vice Premier Liu that China is ready to start negotiating for free-trade with Israel,” Netanyahu remarked. “This is a significant development and we are ready to do it immediately.”

According to Netanyahu, a free-trade agreement would significantly improve bilateral cooperation in many different sectors.



Prime Minister Netanyahu and Vice Premier Liu Yandong.

“There is so much we could do together—in health, distance education, agriculture, aquaculture, information technology, in all fields,” said Netanyahu. “Cooperation with China could yield major results and we believe Israel can be the perfect partner.”

Vice Premier Yandong fully concurred with Netanyahu’s assessment. “We need to continue this cooperation for the benefit of both peoples,” Liu said. “Israel and China are moving in the direction of major joint projects.”

A future free-trade agreement would cover a variety of issues including standardization, implementation of regulations, and the removal of existing trade barriers for imports and exports. It would also detail bilateral cooperation in the technological and economic sectors.

A free-trade agreement between Israel and China may not only increase the gross national product of both countries, but also would most likely double the total value of traded goods between both countries, which currently stands at $8 billion.

The meeting today between Netanyahu and Yandong was the second to take place through the Innovation Committee that was founded during Yandong’s 2014 visit to Israel. The committee, led by Israel’s Foreign Ministry and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, first met in the Chinese capital of Beijing in January, 2015. It is the largest intergovernmental platform between Israel and China.

Originally published in Hebrew on YNet News (29/03/16).

The agreement highlights the opportunity for Australia to act as a beachhead for Israeli companies to launch into China and the Asia Pacific.

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