Economy and Industry Ministry: Encouraging Results for Israeli Exports in 2020

Chilly Forecasts were not Realized as Exports Declined by Less than Expected

(Communicated by the Economy and Industry Ministry Spokesperson)

Summary of trends in Israeli exports and activity of the Foreign Trade Administration in 2020

* Exports stand at approximately $112 billion – a decline of only around 3% over 2019 and an approximately 1% increase over 2018

* In comparison to Israel, the forecast for 2020 for OECD member states is expected to decline – on average – by around 11.7%

* The most significant decline was in the export of tourism services – approximately 66% in comparison to 2019

* The highest growth was in the export of business services and high-tech – around 20% growth in dollar terms in comparison to 2019

* Growth in exports to target states: Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Chile

* Increase in assistance activity to exporters: 1,228 actions to promote exports –

 11% growth; 4,090 requests for trade assistance by Foreign Trade Administration attaches – 36% growth

Economy and Industry Minister Amir Peretz:

“The very good Israeli export data in the year of the coronavirus is the result of outside-the-box thinking and a quick understanding of changing work conditions. I am pleased that the advance readiness of the Economy and Industry Ministry maintained and even increased Israeli exports in several sectors. In my view, one of the most encouraging pieces of data is the increase in activity by Israeli exporters in 2020. This proves that when you work correctly, in an orderly manner and with a work plan, the results are not long in coming even when the coronavirus crisis is striking the world.”

Economy and Industry Ministry Foreign Trade Administration Director Ohad Cohen:

“2020 was marked by the global economic slowdown, which very much affected Israeli exports. Nevertheless, while the forecasts at the start of the crisis projected a double-digit decline in Israeli exports, in practice exports shrank by around 3.2% only. In the past year, the Foreign Trade Administration offered exporters a broad range of assistance tools, which succeeded in obviating many impediments to trade for exporters, in providing real-time information on what was happening in global markets, and in issuing a tender for cargo flights with a government security net. The latter ensured functional continuity by operating airborne cargo routes to critical Israeli export targets. The economic attaches adapted their activity in 50 global centers so as to promote Israeli exports as per an online work model, with over 1,200 commercial and virtual events around the world. There was a considerable increase in support given in the framework of the assistance funds operated by the Foreign Trade Administration.”

Director Cohen noted that the economic attaches did so, “while working in a challenging reality of lockdowns and restrictions on movement, working from home, gaps in equipment and communications among many of the local foreign employees around the world and while continuously responding to the needs of emergency officials in the Health and Defense ministries. The economic attaches and their teams in the Foreign Service knew how to create the necessary connections for pharma companies, medical equipment and PPE manufacturers, lifted import and regulatory barriers, mapped vital suppliers and the like, and continued to promote Israeli exports while seeing the big picture and meeting conditions of unprecedented pressure and uncertainty. The bottom line is that the chilly forecasts were not realized and while Israeli exports declined, it was much less than expected. More than a little of the credit goes to the intensive work of the Foreign Trade Administration and the network of economic attaches around the world.”

The Foreign Trade Administration is due to publish the comprehensive 2020 export report later in the year when all of the data will have been received.

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