Israel is negotiating with India the contours of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), said Eli Belotsercovsky, Director of Economic Relations with India and China in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday. However, Mr. Belotsercovsky refused to spell out a timeframe in which the negotiations, which have been on for more than a year, would conclude.

Israel’s trade with China is about $8 billion, compared to $5 billion with India. Mr. Belotsercovsky said diamonds accounted for about 30-40 per cent of the two-way trade between the two countries. “Nearly two-thirds of Israeli exports are hi-tech products,” he said. Asked if the Israel’s focus on India and China resulted from the economic slowdown in the West, Mr. Belotsercovsky said, “Israel had adopted a look East policy much before the global slowdown began.” However, he admitted that Israeli exports to the European Union “have been at a standstill in the last couple of years.” While the EU accounted for 30 per cent of Israeli exports, the U.S. accounted for about 20 per cent, he pointed out.

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