Bennett with China’s National Development and Reform Commission chairman Zhang Ping.
Bennett with China’s National Development and Reform Commission chairman Zhang Ping. Photo by Economy Ministry
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Entering the Chinese market should be a national goal for Israel, and the government needs to take action in order to make that happen, said Economy Minister Naftali Bennett after returning from a weeklong visit to China on Friday.

“In the next few days my office will draft a special action plan for China; with all the complications and the difficulties, we need to define this as a national goal for Israel,” he posted on Facebook Friday.

“Without government assistance, Israeli companies will have difficulty establishing themselves in China. We need a special policy vis-a-vis China, different than what’s accepted in other countries. In China, government intervention is necessary primarily on the part of the Economy Ministry and our foreign trade department. In China, as opposed to other countries, the government is very involved in trade and that’s what they expect from the other party,” he wrote.

During his visit, several Israeli companies connected with Chinese companies, and some deals are likely to come out of it, he added. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also recently visited China in an attempt to advance economic relations between the two countries.

China presents enormous opportunities for Israel, he added. “We can increase exports to China fivefold or tenfold, and create lots of high-quality workplaces in Israel,” he said.

He acknowledged Israeli companies’ concerns about the Chinese not respecting intellectual property rights. “There was no small number of cases in the past where our intellectual property was used inappropriately, but the Chinese are very aware of the problem and are trying to limit it,” he said.

On Thursday, Bennett’s ministry director general Amit Lang signed a declaration establishing ties in water technology with Shanghai vice mayor Jiang Ping.

This paves the way for Israeli companies to help improve Shanghai’s water treatment systems. Similar agreements have been signed in recent years with water authorities in Beijing, Tianjin and Dongguan.

The Economy Ministry noted that over the next few years Shanghai is expected to invest $15 billion to upgrade its infrastructure, including its water systems. Water quality has become a major concern recently after dead pigs were found floating down the city’s main river.