Economy and Tourism
- Written by Ministry of Economy
ISRAEL AND PANAMA COMPLETE NEGOTIATIONS ON FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
In 2016, Panama Will Join the List Of Countries with which Israel Enjoys Free Trade Agreements, Including the US, the EU, AFTA Countries, Canada, Turkey, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay
JERUSALEM –November 26th, 2015 – Israel concluded negotiations with Panama on a free trade agreement: an Israeli delegation headed by the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy which included seven representatives from relevant government ministries held the fourth round of talks in Panama City between November16th -19th, 2015 and succeeded in bridging the remaining gaps between the sides and completing the talks.
Panama enjoys free trade agreements with several countries, including the US, the EU, Canada, AFTA countries, Singapore, Taiwan, Peru, Colombia, Chile and Mexico. The free trade agreement with Panama will put Israel in a similar position regarding trade benefits.
The agreement, which will include a clause on the services sector, represents another springboard for Israeli companies in the service industry (a field comprising 30% of all Israeli exports). Israeli companies will now be able to participate in this sector in Panama -- with an emphasis on software, communications, information security, engineering and research and development – and thus enjoy the potential of this and related markets. Negotiations took place within the framework of the Israeli Ministry of Economy's policy of expanding exports from Israel to new markets and the policy established in May, 2013 of tightening relations with Latin American countries.
In this latest round of talks, several work groups convened to discuss the following subjects: access to markets, customs and rules of origin, services, investments, protection of vegetation and livestock, trade obstacles and institutional issues. The agreement includes total reduction of customs on all industrial products (some will be reduced gradually over several years), partial lifting of tariffs on agricultural products and benefits for the export of services in various fields. The agreement is expected to take effect at the end of 2016.
With talks successfully concluded, Panama will join the list of countries with which Israel has signed trade agreements: the EU – since 1975, US – 1985, AFTA (Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Iceland) – 1992, Canada – 1997, Turkey – 1997, Mexico – 1999, MERCOSUR (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) – 2007, Colombia – (signed in 2013 but yet to be ratified by the Colombian government).
Ohad Cohen, Head of the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, said: "The Ministry of Economy continues to strengthen Israel's economic ties with countries around the world, with an emphasis on developing economies with high growth potential. This will strengthen Israel's foothold in Latin America, in line with our policy of expanding export channels for Israeli industry and various services sectors. The agreement will open new possibilities for Israeli industry while giving a competitive edge to Israeli manufacturers. Panama is a candidate to become member of the Pacific Alliance, a bloc of Latin American countries comprising Mexico, Colombia (both countries with which Israel has free trade agreements), Chile and Peru. The bloc includes some 200 million people and a combined GDP of more than $3 trillion; it covers 35% of the GDP of all Latin American countries and more than 50% of Latin American trade."
Mrs. Yifat Alon Perel, Director of Bilateral Trade and Economic Agreements at the Foreign Trade Administration and head of the Israeli negotiating team, said: "Free trade agreements constitute a significant infrastructural framework for Israeli exports. Today, some 65% of Israeli exports are directed to countries with which Israel has free trade agreements and this gives exporters customs benefits and a competitive edge, among other advantages. The Foreign Trade Administration continues to act for the benefit of exporters by ensuring their products remain competitive and by creating better access to new markets. This is done by striving to remove trade obstacles exporters may encounter when trying to enter new markets. As of today, Israeli industry enjoys a competitive advantage in Latin America in exports to the Mercosur bloc which includes Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Israel is the only non-Latin American country with an active free trade agreement with this important bloc. In addition, Israel has an active trade agreement with Mexico and two years ago signed a free trade agreement with Colombia which is expected to take effect in the coming year. Our goal is to expand the benefits Israeli industry enjoys to additional countries. The agreement with Panama will be the fourth one Israel has signed in Latin America. Strengthening economic relations with Panama is doubly important, both in opening new markets for Israeli industry but also in strengthening Israel's position among Latin American countries.”
According to the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, the economy of Panama is based mainly on a highly developed services sector, which represents more than three-quarters of the country's GDP, and includes management of the Panama Canal, logistics, banking, the Colon Free Trade Zone, insurance, operation of the ports, shipping registration and tourism. The rate of economic growth in Panama reached 8.4% in 2013 and 6.2% in 2014, significantly higher than the average for Latin America and the Caribbean Islands (1.7% in 2014, according to World Bank data). Panama's growth is attributed among other things to the widening of the Panama Canal, begun in 2007 at a cost of $5.3 billion. Additional infrastructure development projects expected to take place may also draw Israeli companies with relevant experience.
The country's modest exports reach only $25 million, but may grow in light of the agreement and in light of Panama’s role as a bridge to other countries in the region.
Photos : Andrés Lacko
- Written by Aeroflot
Aeroflot doubles Tel-Aviv-Moscow route to four daily flights: Will operate 37 flights a week from Russia to Israel
The company, now celebrating its fifth year in Israel, will operate 37 flights a week from Tel Aviv to Moscow, St. Petersburg and Rostov during the 2015-2016 winter season
Tel Aviv, 11.11.2015 - Aeroflot, Russia's national airline, represented in Israel by Open Sky, is increasing its activity in Israel to 37 flights a week. During the 2015-2016 winter season the company, marking its fifth year of successful presence in Israel, will be operating four daily flights on the Tel Aviv-Moscow route, flying Boeing 777-300 and Airbus A320/321/330 jets. Aeroflot will also be operating a daily flight to St. Petersburg and two weekly flights to Rostov.
The four daily flights that Aeroflot is offering between Tel-Aviv and Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow provide convenient service to 250 daily flights to 300 destinations in 60 countries around the world, with prices that bring better value than ever. Aeroflot operates one of the youngest fleets in the world: the average aircraft-age is just 4.2 years, and will grow younger as new jets are added. The company's Boeing 777-300, which will fly the Tel Aviv route twice a day, is among the most advanced, innovative aircraft in the world. The aircraft provides a lavish service experience, featuring a personal entertainment system and ample legroom in all classes.
Aeroflot's global reach brings Israeli passengers convenient connectivity with short transit times, especially in Moscow, en route to their final destination. According to the company's figures, many of the Aeroflot passengers from Israel continue onto other destinations in Russia, Europe, North America or the Far East. Aeroflot has achieved impressive growth figures on its Israel route, which are likely to grow even more as the frequency of service doubles: In 2014, Aeroflot flew 370,614 passengers between Russia and Israel, compared with 272,513 in 2013. The fact that Aeroflot is a member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance broadens the horizons it can offer even more, through its colleagues in the alliance, which serve 1,057 destinations in 179 countries worldwide.
From the end of October, when the Russian aviation authorities suspended the license of Russian airline Transaero, Aeroflot began flying the stranded Transaero passengers, a successful mission coordinated fully by Open Sky, Aeroflot's representative in Israel, working with the Israel Travel Agent Association and Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Aeroflot's cargo activity in Israel, which is exclusively represented by Open Sky Cargo, also grew by more than 20% in the last year, making it one of the five leading cargo transporters in Israel. The growth rate of Aeroflot's cargo division is among the fastest in the industry worldwide, and it offers rapid cargo shipment between Israel and the world through Aeroflot's comprehensive network of routes around the world.
Speaking at the reception for Aeroflot executives at Ben Gurion International Airport, Mr. Ephraim Fortis, Founder, President and CEO of Open Sky, commented: "Open Sky and Aeroflot are marking a double celebration in Israel: five years of successful operation for Aeroflot in Israel, and doubling the frequency of flights on the Moscow-Tel Aviv line. During its five years of operation in Israel, the airline's activity grew from five flights a week to five flights a day on routes between Russia and Israel. The seating capacity the company can offer on the line and high occupancy rates on flights already position Aeroflot as one of the biggest airlines operating at Ben-Gurion Airport. Four daily flights to Moscow give the Israeli passenger flexibility in timing departure and return, and enable convenient rests between connecting flights in both directions. The Boeing 777-300 airliners offer the Israeli passenger the perfect flight experience on our flights. For Aeroflot executives to come to Israel for this special ceremony demonstrates the airline's commitment to developing the route to Israel, which continues to grow and expand."
Aeroflot is Russia’s flagship carrier and one of the largest airline groups in Europe. In 2014, Aeroflot carried 23.6 million passengers (34.7 million passengers as Aeroflot Group including subsidiaries), a record for any Russian airline. A proud member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance, Aeroflot and its partners serve 1,057 destinations in 179 countries worldwide. Aeroflot operates one of the youngest fleets in the world, numbering 164 Airbus, Boeing and Sukhoi airliners. Aeroflot is among the global leaders in aviation safety. The company’s European Community Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) Index, which is the main globally recognized safety parameter, is comparable to global peers. The first Russian carrier to enter the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) register, renewing its registration for the sixth time in 2015, Aeroflot has successfully passed the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) and is fully ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004 compliant. In 2015 Aeroflot was named by SKYTRAX as the Best Airline in Eastern Europe for the fourth time. Find more at www.aeroflot.com
Photos : Hen Galily
- Written by Economy Ministry
24 ISRAELI DESIGNERS REACH FINALS -- AND WILL REPRESENT ISRAEL IN FIRST ISRAELI POP-UP STORE IN HONG KONG
Carpets, Jewelry, Hats, Toys, Fashion Accessories, Lamps, Gifts and More
Twenty-four Israeli designers, amongst eighty who submitted applications, were selected to represent Israel in a pop-up store that will be launched by the Israeli Ministry of Economy and the Israel Export Institute in Hong Kong in October. The opening is expected to be attended by many from the Hong Kong design community and is expected to brand Israel as a leading country in a number of areas of design.
Following the call for submissions by the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy and the Israel Export Institute several weeks ago, no less than 80 Israeli designers submitted applications for a place in the first Israeli design store in Hong Kong. A design company from Hong Kong together with the Israeli commercial attaché there, Elad Goz, and representatives of the Israel Export Institute, selected the twenty-four leading Israeli designers whose work will be displayed in the store.
Earlier this week, the selected designers presented their wares to the staff at Israel’s Hong Kong trade mission, who were on a visit to Israel. The visit was part of preparations for the opening of the store -- which will take place in a festive ceremony that is already creating great interest in Hong Kong. The opening will take place on October 22nd.
The Head of the Israeli Economic & Trade Mission in Hong Kong, Elad Goz, said: "We have chosen not to limit the type of designs and as a result are featuring a wide variety of Israeli designers from a number of areas, including jewelry, home furnishings and more. The store will present the best and the widest variety of products and help bolster the Israeli design brand in the Far East, branding Israel not just as the 'Startup Nation' but also as a leading country in various design fields."
Director of the Home and Family Department at the Israel Export Institute, Eyal Levi, said: "Israeli design is recognized abroad as innovative and yet many designers find it hard to export their products abroad. Establishing this store, with its wide range of areas of design –from home furnishings to fashion and jewelry – will help designers maximize their exposure in markets in the Far East that have significant potential. We hope that they can increase their sales in traditional avenues as well as online."
The designers selected to represent Israel:
1. Adi Bakshi http://www.adibakshi.com (fashion accessories)
2. Adi Buvarovsky http://www.thepixelsfactory.com (Pop Art)
3. Adi Lev http://www.adilevdesign.com (jewelry)
4. Aviv Kinel http://www.avivkinel.com(jewelry)
5. Bangi Shoes http://bangishop.etsy.com (shoes)
6. Briday http://www.briday.us (gifts)
7. Bumpers Comfort http://www.bumperscomfort.com(shoes)
8. Dori Csengeri http://www.doricsengeri.com (jewelry)
9. Ester Shahaf http://www.estershahaf.com (jewelry and Judaica)
10. Gallabia http://www.gallabia.com (fashion)
11. Ifat Shterenberg http://www.ifatshterenberg.com (furniture)
12. Justine Hats (Yael Cohen) http://www.justinehats.com (hats)
13. Kay Brock http://www.kaybrock.com (textiles for the home)
14. Maya Negri http://mayanegri.com/en (fashion)
15. PaperCat http://www.papercatdesign.com (toys)
16. Studio Shulab http://www.shulab.com (home furnishings)
17. Sink Skin http://www.sink-skin.com (home furnishings)
18. Gal Stern http://www.sterntights.com (fashion accessories)
19. Studio Cheha http://www.bulbing-light.com (lamps)
20. Studio Vayehi (Katerina Brand and Tsuriel Gottlieb) http://www.studiovayehi.com (lamps)
21. Sturlesi Design http://www.sturlesidesign.com (home furnishings)
22. Una Una Shoes http://www.una-una.net (shoes)
23. Anat Dahari http://www.walkbyanatdahari.com (shoes)
24. Yesh Meayin http://www.beijacarpet.com (carpets)
- Written by Ministry of Economy
FIRST - WE TAKE MANHATTAN: ISRAELI FASHION DESIGNERS IN THE BIG APPLE
Ministry of Economy: Israeli Fashion Designers in NYC
The Israeli Ministry of Economy's Trade Mission in New York, in Cooperation with the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Israeli Tourism Ministry, Bring Israeli Bridal Fashion to New York City and Organize a Fashion Show for 7 Young Designers at New York Bridal Next Week
October 7, 2015. New York, NY – Fourteen Israeli fashion designers will exhibit dresses at New York Bridal, which will take place in New York City next week. Among the leading Israeli names who will be exhibiting their designs on Manhattan catwalks will be Pnina Tornai, Alon Livne, Berta, Yaki Ravid and Galia Lahav, who will exhibit their dresses in private fashion shows.
In addition, seven up and coming designers will be showing dresses at a unique event organized by the Israeli Ministry of Economy's Trade Mission in New York, in cooperation with the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Israeli Tourism Ministry. Designers include Tal Kahlon, Merav Solo, Limor Rosen, Orabella, Lee Grebenau, Shlomit Azrad, and Yoav Rish.
New York Bridal is the leading commercial event in the American wedding market, estimated at over $54 billion per year, of which 7% is spent on bridal gowns, amounting to c. $3.2 billion per year. Carolina Herrera, Badgley Mishka, Marchesa, Dennis Basso are among the leading dress designers taking part in this year’s event.
"Of the 40 exhibitions expected during New York Bridal, about one quarter are from Israeli designers,” said Israeli Economic Minister to North America Nili Shalev. “This testifies to the exceptional talent in Israel. Israeli designers have become popular among American clients due to their innovative thinking and daring designs. Israel has long been 'on the map' internationally thanks to its technological innovation. In recent years the country has been making great headway in fields like television formats, wine, new media and fashion. This fashion event initiated by the Israeli Ministry of Economy's New York Trade Mission will let Israeli designers show buyers and potential business partners in the American fashion industry the great potential of the Israeli fashion industry, remarkable for its originality and creativity, traits influenced by the uniquely diverse and vibrant makeup of Israeli society."
"The Israeli Consulate in New York is proud to take part in this important event,” said Israel's Consul General to New York, Ido Aharoni. “It is in days like these that we need to celebrate Israeli creativity in all fields, including fashion."
"In order to continue efforts to highlight Israeli fashion in the US media, the Tourism Ministry's North America mission will host seven leading fashion journalists at the Holon Fashion Week that will take place in November,” said The Israeli Tourism Ministry's representative in North America, Uri Steinberg. “Among them are journalists from Elle, Glamour, Latina Magazine and leading fashion bloggers."
- Written by Ministry of Economy
ECONOMY MINISTER AND CHINESE AMBASSADOR MEET TO DISCUSS ISRAELI-CHINESE FREE TRADE ZONE
[JERUSALEM – 7th July 2015] Economy Minister and Negev and Galilee Development Minister Aryeh Machluf Deri met yesterday (Monday, 6 July 2015), for the first time, in his Jerusalem office, with Chinese Ambassador to Israel Zhan Yongxin. The two discussed - inter alia - the establishment of a free trade zone between Israel and China.
Minister Deri stressed Israel's desire to establish such a zone. The Chinese Ambassador reiterated China's commitment to begin negotiations for an agreement, as first announced by Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang in March in his report to the National People's Congress.
Both sides stressed their mutual desire to strengthen ties and expand Chinese investments in Israel, which have thus far reached $6 billion. They also agreed that a free trade zone agreement would raise bilateral ties to a new level and bring real economic benefit to both sides.
Minister Deri said, "The Israeli Ministry of Economy concentrates efforts to promote and expand the trade ties between the two countries and to this end operates various tools to support Israeli companies doing business in China, such as dedicated funds for projects in the People's Republic of China, supporting incoming and outgoing delegations and of course, our trade attachés posted across China."
The Economy Ministry Foreign Trade Administration, which is expected to lead the negotiations for a free trade zone agreement with China, is making preparations for the talks and is consulting trade and industry officials regarding Israel's specific interests in the negotiations.
The Foreign Trade Administration operates five trade attachés across China - two in Beijing - including one who focuses on policy and regulation, one in Guangzhou, one in Shanghai and one in Hong Kong. This number is identical to the number of attachés in the United States and the goal is to continue expanding the distribution of trade missions in China.
Photo : Chinese Ambassador to Israel Zhan Yongxin . Photo provided by Ministry of Economy