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Israel Seeks to Broaden Free Trade Agreement with India

India has a lot to give the world, and Israel will propose expanding the Free Trade Agreement, said Israeli Economy and Industry Minister Nir Barkat during a visit to India on Monday.

Shivam Dwivedi
Israel Seeks to Broaden Free Trade Agreement with India
Israel Seeks to Broaden Free Trade Agreement with India

Barkat was speaking at the Confederation of Indian Industry's India Israel Business Forum in Delhi. He is bringing a delegation of Israeli businessmen to India for a series of talks with business and government figures. Barkat stated that the Israel-India FTA will be discussed with Indian ministers later on Monday.

"The FTA should cover a wide range of topics, including Agrotech and health care. India's economy is growing to become the world's third largest. What I see here is a huge mutual opportunity, and we're here to take advantage of it," Barkat explained.

"Take a look at the chip industry; Israel is very strong in this industry and has a lot to offer. We should take a serious look at how to co-develop ideas; there are a lot of joint ventures here," he said, emphasizing the need of pushing for semiconductors, which are included in almost every modern electrical product.

"We are going to focus on issues and business clusters in which Israel has a competitive advantage, one of which I found that there is interest here, which we call desert technologies to improve quality of life in deserts, managing water, creating water, saving water, creating energy from the sun from the wind in a distributed way, and that tailors to deserts food production agrotech creating food from the sea using hydroponics."

"Another great opportunity is that you Indians are eager to grow and scale up your business and collaborate with the rest of the world. What we need to do now is find out the best method for our entrepreneurs, who work with your entrepreneurs, to use your scale in a vast economy, the size and breadth of which is a fantastic match. We compete, collaborate, and compliment one another. We have a lot to offer, and you have a lot to offer Israel," Barkat stated.

When comparing the agricultural industries of India and Israel, Barkat stated that 50 years ago, 30-40% of Israel's people worked in agriculture. In Israel today, the agriculture sector employs less than 5% of the population. We're doing more agricultural just by employing smart technologies. "If you scale quickly and adopt technology, that number will shrink dramatically in India over the next 20 years," he said.

India is the world's seventh-largest economy and, after China, Israel's second-largest commercial partner in Asia. Bilateral trade is worth approximately USD 8.5 billion.

Israeli exports to India total approximately USD 5.2 billion. Computer services, chemicals and industrial products, precious stones and metals, and transportation products are the most important fields of commerce. India imports USD 3.3 billion in goods from the country, primarily stones and precious metals, wood products, textiles and paper, chemicals, and chemical products.

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