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As Israeli exports to its traditional trading partners, the United States and Europe, fall due to an economic slowdown and the debt crisis, China has been showing interest in taking up the slack and significantly increasing it trade with Israel. Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon said on Thursday that China is interested in increasing annual trade with Israel by 30% in 2012, to $10 billion.

Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan met on Thursday with ministry officials and told of his intentions to advance a mutual free trade agreement between the countries.

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Director General Sharon Kedmi, who met with Zhong Shan, said: "The trade relations between the countries have strategic importance. This visit joins a long list of visits to Israel by senior Chinese in the public and private sectors."