$50 Mln British-Israeli Britech Fund Inaugurated

The fund will finance R&D projects in industry and high-tech.

In London, Minister of Industry & Trade Ran Cohen has inaugurated the Israel-Britain bi-national Britech fund which will finance $50 million worth of projects with 50% financing from each country.

This is Israel's first joint fund with a European country and the first Britain has created with anther country.

The fund is to assist in and finance joint Israeli British research and development projects in industry and high-tech. A first work meeting will take place next month, and the fund will start approving projects for the promotion of scientific research in industrial fields between the countries in January.

Meanwhile, Minister Cohen met with the Confederation of British Industry and together they studied the possibility of co-operating to set up joint Palestinian and Jordanian industrial zones with Israel. British industrialists are expected to invest in such projects.

Minister Cohen also met with Horst Kohler, President of the EBRD, the European Bank for the Reconstruction and Development of East European countries. The possibility was raised of participation by Israeli companies in the Bank's projects. Kohler noted that the bank, which to date has financed projects worth $20 million, will also start funding small scale projects, enabling Israeli companies to take part.

Further to the meeting with the bank, a study will be made of a mutual proposal for setting up a joint fund with Israel, with the assistance of the Israeli Ministry of Finance.

Bank of Israel representative on the EBRD management Gideon Shor, reported that the bank's capital is estimated at $10 billion and that it mainly assists infrastructure, communications, and ecological projects.

Published by Israel's Business Arena October 26, 1999

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