Israel and China are close to completing negotiations on a free trade agreement, which could be signed this year. The Chinese had planned for the pact to be signed last year, but the lockdowns because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the inability to conduct face-to-face meeting led to delays in the talks.
Within the next two months, a further meeting will be held between the teams formulating the agreement. Internal sources describe it as "one of the most decisive meetings", at which further technical details will be ironed out. The agreement is expected to upgrade trade between Israel and China, which is now Israel’s main trading partner.
Among other things, the agreement will put an end to the 7% duty levied on Chinese cars imported into Israel, although it is not clear whether this will have any material effect on prices, given the weakness of the shekel and rising prices of electric vehicles in China itself.
Last year, imports of Chinese cars (including Tesla cars manufactured in China) rose by 276%. Deliveries totaled 25,238 representing 8% of all deliveries. In the past three months, Chinese-made electric vehicle models have led the table of deliveries by model in Israel. Last year, China became the world’s second largest vehicle exporter, after Germany, exporting over one million vehicles.
The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor stated in response: "The negotiations on a trade agreement with China are proceeding according to the original timetable."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 16, 2023.
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