China-Israel ties blossom dramatically – Xinhua

A container is moved by a crane at the port of Haifa, Israel, August 8, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

JERUSALEM – China and Israel have seen their bilateral cooperation grow and expand to their mutual benefit since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1992, even though they are about 6,437 kilometers apart. other.

The two countries announced the establishment of an innovative comprehensive partnership in 2017, which opened a new chapter in their friendly cooperation. From the Belt and Road cooperation to technology and innovation exchanges, China-Israel relations have achieved fruitful cooperation in various fields over the years.

The new port in the city of Haifa in northern Israel, a transport and industrial center of the country, handles tons of goods every day. Opened in September 2021, the port is expected to reduce import costs and represent an economic boon to Israel, where most international trade is handled via sea routes.

The new port is an automated container port built primarily by Shanghai International Port (Group) Co Ltd, which was franchised to run the port for 25 years. With an investment of $1.7 billion, the port has an annual handling capacity of 1.86 million 20-foot equivalent units.

“The new port has opened a new gateway to the world,” Merav Michaeli, Israel’s Minister of Transport and Road Safety, said at the inauguration ceremony. The minister added that the facility will accelerate Israel’s economic development, increase exports and trade, close social gaps and lower prices.

Supported by the Israeli government, the new port of Haifa is a microcosm of win-win cooperation between China and Israel under the Belt and Road Initiative, aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network linking Asia to Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road trade routes. .

Data released by Israel’s Ministry of Transport and Road Safety showed that the country now invests $4 billion to $5 billion every year to upgrade its transport infrastructure and builds airports, seaports, railways, roads and tunnels, which reflects the enormous complementarity of the respective infrastructures. economic benefits between the two countries.

Chinese companies have managed major infrastructure and transportation projects in Israel in recent years, including winning tenders to build new ports in Haifa and the southern Israeli city of Ashdod , as well as the construction of a key section of Tel Aviv’s light rail system.

Chinese companies and investments have brought tangible benefits to Israel. So far, more than 30 Chinese companies are operating in Israel, creating around 10,000 jobs for the country, according to figures from the Chinese Embassy in Israel.

“The Belt and Road Initiative is a vision that reflects people’s ability to connect and work together across the world, to build bridges for all people and ultimately a better future for all,” said said former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

Over the past 30 years, innovation has played one of the major roles in promoting China-Israel relations, especially after the establishment of their innovative comprehensive partnership in 2017.

“Israel is widely regarded as a center of innovation in the world, but the size of its economy is limited, while China is a giant economy with significant manufacturing power, which makes Israel and China a pair perfect and highly complementary,” said Qiang Hao, general manager of the China-Israel Innovation Hub (Shanghai).

As China transforms its economy to focus on quality-driven development, innovation cooperation between China and Israel has begun to cover areas such as modern agriculture, medical devices, cybersecurity and smart cities.

Looking at China’s huge market, Israel is trying to form a long-term strategic relationship with this East Asian country. Backed by both governments, more and more Israeli startups have secured investment from China and access to its market.

One example is the China-Israel Innovation Park in Changzhou, the first innovation cooperation experimental zone established by the two governments and inaugurated in 2015.

Located in east China’s Jiangsu Province, the park provides physical proximity for Israeli companies to obtain funds and collaborate with Chinese companies in industrial research and development, becoming a prototype project for innovative cooperation. between the two countries.

“By the end of 2021, the park had gathered 155 Israeli-owned and Sino-Israeli joint ventures and facilitated 40 Sino-Israeli science and technology cooperation projects,” said Chen Shunming, deputy director of the park’s management office.

Another milestone in scientific cooperation between the two countries is the China-Israel Innovation Hub (Shanghai) inaugurated in 2019. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, some 70 companies have been attracted to operate in the innovation hub with a result of 200 intellectual property rights, according to Qiang, general manager of the innovation hub.

Focusing on design innovation, Israeli company GIAYO Studio began operating in the park in August. “I think we’re bringing something new – new designs, new experience and new products – to our customers,” said Roy Grinfield, Founder of GIAYO Studio.

“I think China is amazing right now. There are so many opportunities here. We are currently recruiting and trying to grow the team as we have a lot of new client requests. We have big plans for 2022,” Grinfield said.

As President Xi Jinping said in a telephone conversation with his Israeli counterpart, Isaac Herzog, in November, “Innovation has become a strong point and an accelerator of bilateral relations”.

“Ten years ago, very little happened between our two countries. In the years since, the relationship has grown significantly on almost all fronts, from academic exchanges and cooperation to scientific collaboration and joint research, from business investment to infrastructure development,” he said. said Carice Witte. , founder and executive director of Sino-Israel Global Network & Academic Leadership, an Israeli political organization specializing in Sino-Israeli relations.

Despite the setbacks of the pandemic, the two countries have not stopped their efforts to strengthen cooperation. Data from China Customs showed that bilateral merchandise trade between China and Israel reached $20.4 billion in the first 11 months of 2021, up 28.9 percent year-on-year.

China and Israel are also working on a bilateral free trade agreement, which will boost economic cooperation and bring more benefits to people and businesses on both sides. As the year 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations, the peoples of the two countries look forward to continued cooperation in all fields for mutual benefit.

“I believe that Israel must develop a rational, wise and close relationship with China, which is a great friend and a leading country with growing influence,” said Yoav Kisch, a member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

According to Chen, the China-Israel Innovation Park in Changzhou will expand from 5 square kilometers to 72.8 square kilometers. “We will make the park a model of an innovative comprehensive partnership between the two countries and help apply Israel’s innovation resources and technological achievements to Chinese industries,” Chen said.

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