At today’s meeting, the committee discussed the effects of the international financial crisis on the economies of the two countries, and methods of improving and diversifying the bilateral economic relationship.
(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
The joint Russian-Israeli intergovernmental committee of economic cooperation, headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman and Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, convened today (Thursday 18 November 2011) in Jerusalem. At the end of the meeting, FM Liberman and Deputy Prime Minster Zubkov signed a program of cooperation in the field of tourism.
This is the eighth meeting of the committee, which has the objective of promoting bilateral trade relations and economic cooperation. Some thirty Russian delegates, including deputy ministers, ministerial representatives and senior economic figures attended the meeting. Israeli delegates included directors-general of governmental ministries, including the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of National Infrastructures, as well as delegates from various other ministries, the Israel Airports Authority and the Israel Space Agency.
At the start of the meeting, FM Liberman stated that "The economic committee has contributed a great deal to the improvement and expansion of the bilateral relationship. During the past two years there has been a significant increase in incoming tourism from Russia, and the number of flights has increased as well. Since the beginning of the year, the volume of trade between the two countries has reached 1.15 billion dollars, and the economic-business forum has met twice." FM Liberman added that certain issues, such as cooperation on the topic of space and the expansion of technological cooperation must be advanced further. The minister expressed his satisfaction at the forthcoming visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Israel on 17 January 2011.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Zubkov emphasized the good economic relationship between Russia and Israel, and said that Israel is an important partner for Russia in the Middle East. He added that both nations have common interests, and today we are taking another step forward to promote the relationship and common interests of the two countries.
The intergovernmental committee of economic cooperation deals with many issues, including trade and investment, industrial research and development, entrepreneurship, agriculture, energy, space, health, pensions, diamonds, transportation, tourism, emergency situations, ecological issues, telecommunications, banking, finance and even agreements on joint film production.
At today’s meeting, the committee discussed the effects of the international financial crisis on the economies of the two countries and the cooperation between them, as well as the possibility of strengthening and expanding commerce between the two nations. Methods of diversifying the economic ties, which are currently based on raw materials and energy from Russia and technological equipment and agricultural products from Israel, to an economic relationship based on bilateral investment, encouraging of entrepreneurship, technological R&D and advanced industries, were also discussed. The two sides related to possible cooperation in the field of energy, with emphasis on sustainable energy such as oil shale.
An additional central layer to the bilateral relationship is the issue of aviation. With the annulment of visa requirements some two years ago, the number of tourists to both countries has increased considerably. Currently, there are some 70 weekly flights between Israel and Russian destinations. The two sides agreed on a series of measures to improve this relationship.