Israel and China agree on multi-billion free trade deal


Israel and China have announced plans to push forward a new free-trade agreement.

In a meeting last week between Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, 13 agreements were signed on cooperation in a wide array of fields.

Trade between Israel and China stands at around $8bn, and trade officials believe that an agreement removing bureaucratic barriers and tariffs could double the volume of business.

Israel imports mainly consumer goods and electronics from China and exports largely technological products. In recent years, Chinese corporations have bought Tnuva, Israel's largest food producer, and talks are under way for the purchase of insurance and chemical companies.

The Israeli government has encouraged businesses to work in China and boosted its diplomatic representation in the country. However, some in the Israeli establishment, including former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy, warn that there are not enough guidelines on selling advanced technology to China, which could be used for spying purposes.

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