NATIONAL

Israel in trade talks with India, China

Over the mountains:An IAF fighter in Leh on Wednesday.ANI  

Israel hopes that tensions between India and China will ease and it is in talks with both countries on trade agreements, according to an Israeli official.

While India and Israel were negotiating a limited trade deal for about 200 designated products, Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with South Korea, China and Vietnam were under way.

Israel also planned to discuss India-United Arab Emirates (UAE)-Israel cooperation in a number of areas such as agriculture, technology and water once the UAE-Israel agreement is formally signed in Washington on September 15, the official said. “We have good relations with India and China,” Gilad Cohen, Deputy Director General of the Asia Pacific division in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told journalists at a special briefing when asked about the four-month stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), “We hope all tensions will be sorted out peacefully and the situation will [ease] soon,” he said.

Last month, the Israeli Foreign Ministry inaugurated its first “Asia-Pacific Day,” hosting 11 Asian countries, including India, at a special event, with a view to increasing trade and investment with the ‘East’ as a key priority for post COVID-19 economic recovery.

China, Hong Kong and India are Israel’s biggest trading partners in Asia.

Since both China and India established full diplomatic ties with Israel in 1992, China’s trade has increased from $50 million to $15 billion, while India’s trade has grown from $200 million to about $5 billion.

“Our most advanced negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement are with [South] Korea at present,” Mr. Cohen said, listing the agreements being discussed.

“We hope this will be completed soon, and then in 2021, we will finalise agreements with China and Vietnam,” he noted.

While India and Israel’s talks were not in an “advanced stage” yet they were discussing lower tariffs on about 200 products that were “of importance to” both countries.