In recent years China and Israel have fostered closer trade ties. China has now become the latter’s largest trading partner in Asia as well as the third largest trading partner in the world. Statistics from the Israeli Ministry of Economy show that during 2012 to 2015, Chinese investments in Israel saw an increase of 100% year on year. As at 2015, 40% of the venture capital used to set up start-up companies in Israel came from China, while 50% of the investment projects in Israel received Chinese funds. As an increasing number of Chinese enterprises have invested in Israel, China has now become a key market to Israeli companies and the Israelis.
Ms. Hila Engelhard, the Israel-China Economic & Trade Relation Team Leader under the Economic Affairs Division of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that Israel, as a strategically important location along the “21st Maritime Silk Road”, an important transportation hub connecting Europe and Asia in the Middle East, and a founding member of the AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank), strongly supports the “One Belt, One Road” Initiative from which the country would benefit significantly, and wishes to enhance its trade cooperation with China through the Initiative, so as to boost economic growth and trade. Ms. Engelhard added that Israel is now advancing its infrastructure construction, including a new port in Haifa and the Tel Aviv light rail dubbed “red line”, and that Zhonggang Construction Group and China Railway Tunnel Group have been involved in such projects. Many Israeli companies and research institutions are also eager to enhance cooperation with China, including by sharing cutting-edge technologies and jointly building research capacity.