JERUSALEM, November 24, 2014 – Israeli Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett launched the flagship "Water City" project in China today, announcing that the city of Shougang in the Shandong province would be the focus of Israel's water-related activities in the country. The announcement was made in the presence of Chinese municipal officials during Minister Bennett's current visit to China. The minister landed in China on Sunday to head a business delegation with representatives of 15 Israeli companies seeking opportunities for Israeli water technologies.
The minister's visit is the high point of an ongoing process led by the Israeli Ministry of Economy through its trade attachés in China. The attachés are working with Chinese authorities to advance Israeli companies and incorporate Israeli technology in the country's massive water system. The Chinese water system faces many challenges including rapid population growth and widespread contamination of the country's water resources. Beijing is therefore "thirsty" for Israeli solutions.
Israeli water technologies will be implemented in the "Water City" project in Shougang for commercial use, which will showcase solutions offered by Israeli companies in real-world conditions in an effort to persuade Chinese authorities to adopt these solutions in other Chinese cities. The city of Shougang was chosen following a stringent selection process by representatives of the Israeli Ministry of Economy and their Chinese counterparts. As part of the project, the city will enjoy technologies offered by Israeli firms in the fields of desalination, sewage management, irrigation, reuse of water for agricultural, water supply and more. This is a first-of-its-kind enterprise supported by the joint Israel-China Mission entrusted with advancing bilateral economic ties.
"Israel and China are natural partners for technological and business cooperation," said Minister Bennett during the inauguration of Shougang as 'Water City.' "We have extensive experience in management of water resources and the 'Water City' project will help open the Chinese market to Israeli water companies, as well as advancing bilateral relations."
The minister's tour will continue until Thursday, during which the delegation will visit Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing. In Nanjing, seminars and business meetings will take place between representatives of the Israeli companies and a wide range of government and non-government representatives in the country's water-management sector.
Minister Bennett will hold further meetings with senior Chinese government officials from the Ministry of Commerce in the People's Republic of China (MOFCOM), as well as senior executives from the Chinese business sector, including Robin Li, CEO of Internet trade giant Baidu, and with the Chairman of trade giant Suning, with an eye towards helping Israeli companies forge partnerships with these companies and towards bringing the Chinese concerns to Israel to open investment arms and R&D centers. The minister is also expected to launch the China-Israel Business Center in Shanghai and, at the end of his visit, to inaugurate the Israeli exhibition farm in the south China province of Fujian. This agricultural demonstration center is a commercial farm established and supported by the Israeli Ministry of Economy, housing several Israeli companies which showcase their expertise and knowhow in the hopes of drawing clients from China and across Asia.
According to the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, Israel's trade with China stood at $10.8 billion in 2013. Trade with China is expected to rise by 15% in 2014.