Economy Minister Orna Barbivai met her Australian counterpart Dan Tehan virtually on Wednesday to examine the feasibility of a free trade agreement (FTA) between the countries and to explore different ways and means of strengthening trade relations.
In their meeting, the two ministers agreed to start preliminary talks in January in order to create new initiatives that should serve as a lever for economic cooperation between the two countries.
The Foreign Trade Administration of the Department of Economy and Industry, charged with promoting and directing the processes of establishing Israeli free trade agreements with countries and trading blocs around the world, estimates that such an agreement would increase Israeli exports to Australia and trade between the Countries will expand.
Foreign Trade Administration Director Ohad Cohen stated, “Australia is a significant market for Israeli exports. A free trade agreement – if signed – could help Israeli companies compete in the Australian market and strengthen business relationships between companies and corporations in the two countries. “
Israeli exports of goods and business services to Australia in 2020 were about $ 736 million, while imports were about $ 325 million, with total trade estimated at over $ 1 billion.
Israeli exports to Australia – mainly consumer goods, software and high-tech technologies, as well as medical equipment – are five times higher than imports from Down Under to the Jewish state.
Most of Australia’s imports into Israel consist of agricultural products.
The Foreign Trade Administration estimates that a significant proportion of Israeli exports to Australia go through third countries and that the mutual trade volume between the two countries is around $ 2 billion.
A number of Israeli companies have won significant tenders in Australia over the past year, and Israel expects these successes to be reflected in the years to come.
About 70% of Israel’s international trade takes place under free trade agreements.
Over the past decade, Jerusalem has signed or updated seven free trade agreements with countries such as South Korea, Colombia, Canada and Ukraine, doubling the seven agreements that were in force in 2009.
In addition, Israel is currently negotiating with a large number of other markets such as China, Vietnam, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Guatemala.