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The Israeli Prime Minister's Conference for Export and International Cooperation 2005

Global Participation

More than 700 trade officials and businesspeople from all parts of the globe, joined by more than 800 Israeli businesspeople, participated in the Prime Minister's Conference for Export and International Cooperation, which came to a close on 11th November and was the largest regional business conference ever held in Israel. The 1,800 people in attendance included diplomats, key global business and trade figures, senior figures in the Israeli economy, and Israel's political leadership.

Export Institute Director-General Yechiel Assia attributed the great success of the conference to the prestige of Israel's industrial export products, in addition to the improving attitude in the world toward doing business with Israel amid the recent changes in the diplomatic and security situation in the region.

"The conference was an impressive show of the power and importance of Israeli exports and an engine to fuel economic growth in 2006 as a result of the ties made between exporters and the dozens of delegations that came from abroad," said Mr. Assia.

Fischer's Positive Economic Outlook

Prof. Stanley Fischer, formerly the IMF First Deputy Managing Director and currently the Governor of the Bank of Israel, shared his view about Israeli economic situation and observed that it is currently in an excellent state.

"GDP is expected to grow by 4.3 percent in 2006, and business-sector product by 5.4 percent. Investment in 2006 is expected to recover following its sluggish growth in the last few years, and to rise by 4.5 percent." These were the figures quoted by the Governor of the Bank of Israel, Prof. Stanley Fischer, during his speech at the Prime Minister's Conference for Export and International Cooperation last Thursday.

Prof. Fischer also presented the Bank's forecast of 6.5% growth in Israeli exports of goods and services.

Chatted with Ms. Indi of Indolink during the Prime Minister's Conference 2005, Prof. Stanley Fischer was impressed by Ms. Indi's fluent Hebrew and felt amused when he remembered his IMF service years during the economic crises in Indonesia.

Renewal of Business Relations with the Palestinians

A delegation from the Palestinian Businessmen's Association (PBA) of Gaza met with members of the Israel Manufacturers Association and the Israel Chamber of Commerce. The meetings marked the first time that leaders from the Palestinian private sector met with their Israeli counterparts in Israel since the start of the intifada.

Amongst the issues discussed, said Chamber of Commerce President Uriel Lynn, was the creation of an industrialized zone in Gaza which would encourage partnerships in the private sector between the two groups. The Chamber of Commerce reported that trade between the Palestinian Authority and Israel reached approximately $1 billion in the first half of 2005, of which about $763 million was Israeli exports to the PA and $174 million was Israeli imports.

With the Manufacturers Association division of foreign trade and international relations director Dan Catarivas they discussed ways of renewing economic relations between the Gaza Strip and Israel. At the meeting, the Manufacturers Association of Israel made the prediction that Israeli sales in the Palestinian Authority will raise 10-15% to $1.9 billion this year, the same level as before the intifada. Trade between the two reached to $2.3 billion in 2004.

Sitting at the same conference table with Indolink, the Secretary of PBA Mr. Faysal Shawa explained to Indolink the reason of PBA's great interest to overcome political barriers and increase imports from Israel. "I know many Arab countries do not like to buy from Israel, but we Palestinians like to buy from Israel because Israel means good".
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