Ukrainian-Israeli economic cooperation only begins to open up the existing bilateral potential. Trade between the countries that kept at around US$1 billion for long slightly decreased in 2016. However, Ukraine has maintained a positive balance of foreign trade and has been able to attract potential investors and business partners from Israel. The latter see mainly IT, advanced technology, agriculture as promising areas for cooperation.
This issue was on the agenda of the international conference titled "On the Situation and Prospects of Ukrainian-Israeli Trade and Economic Relations," which was arranged by the bilateral Business Council with the support of the embassies of both countries and the Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.
The sides discussed algorithms to boost trade and investment-related cooperation, as well as risks, protection, insurance of business on the domestic markets.
In particular, both diplomats and, entrepreneurs announced they were waiting when the two countries adopt a free trade agreement. According to Ukraine's Ambassador to Israel Hennadiy Nadolenko, the fifth round of talks on the future trade deal will take place in Tel Aviv early in March. He also expressed hope that the approval of the text of the agreement will be faster.
He announced the trade mission will visit Israel in March this year, and Ukrainian investment projects are scheduled to be presented there in May.
"The partner country's experience in the field of cyber security and exchange of this experience, as well as practices of state support for businesses, start-ups, the work of venture capital, new technologies in agriculture, etc. are important to us," Nadolenko has said.
His view was supported by Ambassador of Israel to Ukraine Eliab Byelotserkovski: investors and businesses find cooperation in the sphere of high technologies to be really very interesting. Companies have begun to establish direct contacts in that direction, they enter into agreements with specialists in Ukraine. In general, there are many companies with Israeli capital in the domestic market. According to Trade Attaché of Israel Elizabeth Solovieva, three Israeli companies opened their offices here last year alone.
At the same time, President of the Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Anatoliy Kinakh noted that the level of direct investment from Israel is still quite low —up to US$ 50 million for the whole period, or 0.1% of the total volume of foreign investments. The leader of the business community is convinced that Ukraine, which is experiencing investment hunger, is attractive for investment. This is due to human, scientific and technical potential, proximity to European markets and high ROI of investment projects.
"Of course, we, on our part, need to ensure clear protection of the rights of owners and investors, the rule of law," Kinakh said.
He also urged not to be limited to IT or agriculture, but develop cooperation in the reform of medicine, particularly rehabilitation of soldiers where Israel is a world leader. Also recycling industry, the environment in general, energy efficiency projects are the spheres for businesses from both countries.
The ULIE, which has signed agreements and trade partner support from the Federation of the Chambers of Israel and the Confederation of Industrialists, is ready to organize and advise on facilitation of investment talks and to help with the implementation of concrete projects.
In general, participates in the meeting noted the growth of mutual interest in the field of trade and economic cooperation. Respective contacts will be developed through the embassy, the bilateral Business Council, the ULIE and other organizations that have pledged to do everything possible to simplify and invigorate business cooperation.