Netanyahu Meets Chinese Leaders In Beijing

Prime Minister of Israel Binyamin Netanyahu reviewing an honor guard at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday. (FLASH90)
Prime Minister of Israel Binyamin Netanyahu reviewing an honor guard at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday. (FLASH90)

Agreement Signed To Boost Israeli Exports

China and Israel got down to business on Wednesday as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his Chinese counterpart Prime Minister Li Keqiang signed an agreement for the expansion of Israeli exports in China.

At a working meeting the Chinese Finance Ministry signed onto a plan to increase the bilateral financial protocol by $400 million. The protocol is a bilateral financial agreement that allows for the growth of Israeli exports to China by means of state guarantees in support of long-term export deals.

Within this framework, exporters’ financing costs go down, which makes Israeli deals more competitive.

To date, the state of Israel — via the office of the Finance Ministry Accountant-General — has signed three financial protocols with China worth $1.35 billion. In 2012, an additional financial protocol was signed on water-saving technologies in agriculture worth $300 million. Expanding this protocol will increase the financial protocols’ worth to $2.05 billion. Since the signing of the financial protocols with China, 236 deals worth $771 million have gone forward.

Netanyahu said, “This is a very important agreement for expanding bilateral cooperation. China is a vast market and if we even slightly increase our market share here it will significantly help the Israeli economy.”

Meanwhile, international politics continued to impinge on bilateral business deals.

When Netanyahu and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet on Thursday, they’re expected to discuss, among other things, a new, four-point Chinese peace plan. The plan was only made public on the eve of Netanyahu’s visit on Monday, after Xi met with visiting PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Beijing.

The Chinese support an end to building in Yehudah and Shomron and an immediate start to negotiations leading to a two-state solution.

The proposal marks a departure in Chinese foreign policy. It was understood in Yerushalayim that Russia and China had come to an understanding: China would stay out of the Middle East and follow Russia’s lead on matters there, in return for Russia following China’s lead on issues in the Far East, particularly regarding North Korea.

But China’s economic success in recent years has inevitably led to a desire for more of a say in international affairs. Both Israel and the United States will have to take note of it.