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 *First visit by high-ranking Vietnamese official since relations established between the 2 countries * Minister to participate in joint session of the economy committees of both governments and visit technological incubators * Minister to meet with Israeli counterpart, Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett

JERUSALEM – 23rd September 2014. The Vietnamese Minister of Science and Technology, Nguyen Quan, will head a large delegation of high-ranking Vietnamese government officials slated to visit Israel at the end of the month (28.9-2.10) and will hold, for the first time since the establishment of diplomatic relations 20 years ago, a session of the joint economic committee with officials from both governments. The Minister will lead the committee discussion on the Vietnamese side while Israeli Minister of Economy, Naftali Bennett, will lead discussion on the Israeli side.

The session comes as part of a full state visit by the Vietnamese Minister, including a tour of the New Generation Technology project in Nazareth, the Bio-Jerusalem project, visits to Israeli technology companies and a gala dinner with representatives of Israeli companies active in Vietnam.

The visit marks a high point in the strengthening of economic relations between Israel and Vietnam. Bilateral trade has reached approximately USD $1 billion per annum in recent years, and consequently the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy and the parallel authority in Vietnam have begun discussions to advance a free trade agreement. The recently-published Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum ranked Vietnam 68th of 144 countries. The report states Vietnam is a developing market with a highly-educated population (over 90 million people) and high rate of participation in the workforce by women - factors that combine to define Vietnam as the "Asian Tiger" of growth (growth projected in 2014 was 5.5%). Nevertheless, on innovation, Vietnam was not marked for distinction.

Ministry of Economy Trade Attaché to Vietnam, Tzafrir Assaf: "Vietnam has become highly attractive for small and medium-sized technology companies. The Vietnamese avoid purchasing cheaply-made technology products and are willing to pay for reliable and innovative solutions made in Israel. Small and medium exporters, offering niche solutions tailored to the needs of the customer, succeed in penetrating the Vietnamese market, with the help of local distributors we locate for them. The Vietnamese economy provides Israeli companies with significant opportunities and the visit by the technology minister is aimed at leveraging these opportunities. Thus, for example, we try to connect Israeli and Vietnamese technology companies, with the help of funding by the World Bank. In addition, the Ministry of Science and Technology is responsible for granting a company recognition as being 'Hi-Tech' and this holds financial significance for Israeli companies choosing to invest in Vietnam and increase their presence in the country."

Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett: "Part of the Ministry of Economy's responsibility is strengthening Israel's economic relations with developing countries and new markets around the world and Vietnam holds many opportunities for Israeli exporters. This summit of economic officials from both countries will pave the road for additional Israeli exporters and leverage our economic ties with this country, gaining a stronger footing in Asia and in the whole world."

The Foreign Trade Administration at the Ministry of Economy said that exports to Vietnam during 2013 amounted to USD $702 million compared to USD $745 million in 2012. The data marks a drop of 6%, which can be attributed to the strengthening shekel and weakening dong which occurred in tandem with the effects of the global financial crisis which hit Vietnam relatively late and hurt market demand. The leading fields of export were electronics and mineral components (mainly by Intel), chemical products, fertilizer, paints and telecommunications products. Imports from Vietnam reached USD $413.2 million in 2013 and $318 million in 2012. The data reflects a 30% rise in imports, mainly comprised of telecommunications products, animals, agriculture, food, textile products and footwear. The most significant rise was in imports of textile products and footwear.

 The visit marks a high point in the strengthening of economic relations between Israel and Vietnam



 Vietnam, Israel reach high-tech deal


Written by http://www.vietnambreakingnews.com/  

 Vietnam and Israel signed an agreement to boost economic cooperation, particularly on science and technology.

The deal was reached during Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan's visit to Israel from September 28 – October 2 to attend the first meeting of the Inter-Governmental Committee for Economic and Technological Cooperation .

Quan, addressing the signing ceremony, said both sides would not only facilitate the exchange of scientists but also expand into human resources training and research.

Vietnam hoped to develop technology in the fields of agriculture and cyber security and safety with Israel, he said, and pledged maximum support to Israeli investors.

The country looked forward to launching talks on a free trade agreement with Israel as soon as possible, Quan added.

Israeli Economic Minister Naftali Bennett, for his part, expressed his hope for the value of bilateral trade to cross the threshold of 1 billion USD this year.

Agreeing with Bennett, the Ministry of the Economy's Trade Attaché Tzafrir Assaf said Vietnam was becoming increasingly attractive for small and medium-sized Israeli high-tech companies.

Last year, Israel exported goods worth 702 million USD to Vietnam and spent 413.2 million USD on imports, mostly garments and footwear.

Its major earners are electronics, chemicals, fertilisers, paint and telecommunication products.-VNA



 Israeli Economic Minister Naftali Bennett and Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan (R) at the signing ceremony (Photo: VNA)





The Economy Ministry, via its Investment Center, will invest NIS 33 million in subsidies of higher salaries for employees working for factories and companies located in national priority areas. An extra NIS 27 million will be invested in promoting high salary employment within the cyber industry. Total Economy Ministry in these two tracks: NIS 60 million.

Conditions for the financial assistance: at least 60% of new employees must reside in the national priority areas. The Economy Ministry expects that this financial aid will provide employment to graduates of academic institutions located throughout the priority areas (most of which are in the periphery), particularly in the fields of high tech, engineering, programming and other well-paid professions.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett: " National priority areas in Israel represent one of the largest business opportunities in the Middle East today. There is great importance in government intervention, in order to create an appropriate ecosystem to attract leading international and Israeli companies that will set up the base of their operations in these areas."

Economy Ministry Director-General Amit Lang recently signed a directive that defines two additional tracks for assistance in employment in the national priority areas. The Director-General's directive, which aims to promote and develop the national priority areas and help recruit more employees into Israeli businesses (in accordance with government decisions 1272 and 546), will be published in the coming days as part of the Director-General's directive 4.18. The financial assistance will be distributed via the Ministry's Investment Center.

The track is aimed at companies and factories with an annual turnover higher than NIS 100 million (in the year prior to application), that are committed to establishing an initiative or business, expanding an existing factory in the national priority areas or relocating a factory to the national priority areas.

Within the cyber track, the company is also required to meet the definition "Cyber Company" and to establish or expand its activities in one or more "designated settlement" as described in the directive.

The conditions of this financial assistance: at least 60% of the new employees must reside in the national priority areas. Employers, who request salary subsidies within the tracks, are required to pay newly hired employees salaries that are 2.5 times higher than the average salary in Israel. Salary subsidies will decrease on a sliding scale each year - in the first year, up to 40% salary subsidy will be given within the cyber industry and up to 35% in the general track, whereas in the fourth year, salary subsidies will be reach 25% in the cyber program and 10% in the general track.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett: "National priority areas across Israel – and particularly the Negev - represent one of the largest business opportunities in the Middle East today. I am not a big believer in government intervention although, in this regard, it is very important for the government to intervene so that an appropriate ecosystem can be created within these areas to attract leading international and Israeli companies. I believe that the factories and companies who will be attracted into these areas following government intervention will discover its huge potential."

Investment Center Director Nahum Itzkowitz: "The new tracks were created to assist in the recruitment of highly-paid employees while emphasizing on increasing the rate of growth and encouraging the creation of highly-paid positions within the national priority areas. We assist investors who are interested in establishing or expanding initiatives with highly paid employees in the national priority areas or in relocating a company or factory to these priority areas. The assistance is given via partial salary subsidies of highly-paid employees".





In total, the ministry will allocate NIS 8 million in 2014 to residents in the periphery for tourist business development and the establishment of tourist accommodation.
The grant for establishing tourist accommodation: up to 24%
The grant for small tourist businesses: up to 30%

Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau: "Tourist accommodation and small businesses are the core of tourism in the periphery. The Tourism Ministry which I lead will continue to encourage an increase in supply and competition and will make investments that will strengthen tourism in the periphery, create new jobs and turn the Gaza periphery into an attractive tourism destination for domestic and international tourists."

Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevy: " In recent years, the Tourism Ministry has invested hundreds of millions of shekel in creating a larger and more varied tourism product in the periphery for the benefit of the wider public and in order to create new jobs - investments that have brought billions of shekels into the economy."

The Tourism Ministry has published directives concerning grant allocations for the establishment of tourism accommodation and for small tourist businesses in the Gaza periphery, Negev, Nazareth, Acre, Druze and Circassian villages and in the villages that are located along the Gospel Trail.

In keeping with the directive, the ministry will give grants of up to 24% of the total investment for the establishment of accommodation units and grants of up to 30% for the establishment of small tourist businesses. The grants will be allocated according to the following procedures:

1. Assistance in the Gaza periphery and Negev areas in keeping with the policy of the Tourism Ministry and the government to promote development of the tourism product as a means of assisting and strengthening the economic infrastructure of the communities that are under security and economic threat.

2. Assistance for communities living alongside the Gospel Trail, Nazareth, Acre and the Druze and Circassian villages of Daliat al Carmel and Ussfiya in keeping with the government decisions as related to the multi-year program for economic development of communities in the minorities sector and advancing them in terms of employment and social issues in the field of tourism.

Grants for establishing tourist accommodation:

NIS 500,000 for entrepreneurs living in Daliat al Carmel and Ussfiya

NIS 500,000 for entrepreneurs living in Nazareth

NIS 1 million for entrepreneurs living in the Negev and Gaza periphery

NIS 1 million for entrepreneurs living in the Druze and Circassian villages

NIS 1 million for entrepreneurs living in Acre

NIS 500,000 for entrepreneurs living near the Gospel Trail

Grants for developing small tourist businesses:

NIS 500,000 for entrepreneurs living in Daliat al Carmel and Ussfiya

NIS 500,000 for entrepreneurs living in Nazareth

NIS 1 million for entrepreneurs living in the Negev and Gaza periphery

NIS 1 million for entrepreneurs living in the Druze and Circassian villages

NIS 500,000 for entrepreneurs living near the Gospel Trail

Requests for assistance to be filed by 1 March 2014 to the RuralTourism Division at the Tourism Ministry



The opening day ceremony of the Stock Exchange took place on Wednesday, March 26, in Aviv University, in occasion of the National Science Day, with the presence of the Governor of the Central Bank of Israel, Dr. Karnit Flug, the Stock Exchange General Manager, Mr. Yossi Beinart, the Stock Exchange Chairman Substitute, Dr. Ron Malka, General Manager of the Science and Technology Ministry, lawyer Bina Bar-On, and Tel Aviv University President, Prof Joseph Klafter

The opening day ceremony of the Stock Exchange took place on Wednesday, March 26, in Aviv University, in occasion of the National Science Day, with the initiative of the Science and Technology Ministry

The event was opened by the Stock Exchange General Manager, Mr. Yossi Beinart, who said: "There is great importance in strengthening the connection between science, technology, industry and financial market. This connection contributes to the to the innovation processes that serve as important sources to advancement and economic growth. The encouragement of the connection between science, technology and industry enables developments that can serve as basis for implementable ideas in industry, for production that will improve the living conditions and to economic growth for the benefit of all. The financial and stock markets are significant factors in these processes".

The Tel Aviv University President, Prof Joseph Klafter, said: "The rising of awareness to science in this day can encourage youngsters to study different science disciplines. This science day will enable a glance to break-thru researches conducted in universities. The university is a huge start-up of creativity and innovative ideas". Prof Joseph Klafter also indicated that "science shapes all aspects of our lives, from security to medicine. We live in a fascinating period of accelerated scientific development, where technologies and scientific developments reach massive use with unprecedented speed".

The Governor of the Central Bank of Israel, Dr. Karnit Flug, surveyed the payment means in the market. She enumerated the layers that compose this "tubing" in the financial system, and explained the roles of the Central Bank in the regularization and protection of the payment and clearing systems. Then, she enumerated the different means of payment - the traditional ones, based on paper, and the new ones, based on technology - and described the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Dr. Flug then noted: "The Central Bank of Israel promoted reforms and steps intended to make the new means of payments easier and safer. Among these: development of a payment system for immediate clearing called Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS), joining to the CLS international system, payment system law and improvement of the different clearing systems. In addition, the Locker committee, which is expected to publish her conclusions soon, will encourage the increase of the use of electronic payment means".


Photo: Open University of Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Left to right: Exchange CEO, Mr. Yossi Beinart, CEO of the Ministry of Science Bina Bar - On, Governor of the Bank of Israel, Dr. Karnit Flug, president of Tel Aviv University, Prof. Joseph Klafter and Deputy Chairman Exchange Dr. Ron Malka 
Photo: Kobi Kantor

Israel – Russia:  11th Mixed Economic Committee to be convened in Moscow

Tomorrow, Monday 9 December 2013, the Israel-Russia Mixed Economic Committee will convene in Moscow. This will be the Committee’s 11th meeting. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liebermann will head the Israeli delegation, accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin. The Russian delegation will be headed by Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.

The Mixed Committee, headed by the Foreign Minister, constitutes the highest level inter-ministerial forum for relations between Russia and Israel. The Committee discusses a number of diplomatic and economic issues of great interest and importance for both sides.

In the past four years, the Economic Committees met annually, alternating between Jerusalem and Moscow.

In the coming meeting discussions will address trade issues including a free trade agreement  with the trilateral customs union (Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus), customs issues regarding exports of fresh agricultural produce from Israel to Russia, cooperation in technologies and management of water resources, cooperation in the field of oil substitutes for transportation,  renewable energies,   relations between Russian and Israeli companies in the area of investments in natural gas, scientific cooperation, space, foreign trade insurance, and cooperation in tourism. The issue of signing a pensions agreement will also be addressed.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in trade between Israel and Russian, reaching a current  $3 billion a year. A number of agreements will be signed at the end of the talks.