Israeli Minister of Science and Technology Ofir Akunis is interviewed with Xinhua in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Nov. 1, 2018. The upcoming China International Import Expo (CIIE) will create "good opportunity" for the whole world to cooperate with each other, said Ofir Akunis in an interview with Xinhua. (Xinhua/Guo Yu)
by Xinhua writer Chen Wenxian
JERUSALEM, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- The upcoming China International Import Expo (CIIE) will create "good opportunity" for the whole world to cooperate with each other, said Israeli Scientific Minister Ofir Akunis.
"We are in global markets, we are all together and we want to cooperate," said Akunis in an interview with Xinhua.
This is a "very good idea" and the "right way" that China hosts the CIIE where people from all over the world will meet there and cooperate in the future, noted the minister.
Over 3,000 companies from 130 countries and regions, including Israel, have confirmed to participate in the event.
"The Chinese market is huge," said Akunis, adding that the opportunities for the cooperation, especially in the high tech sector between Israel and China are also big.
Akunis believed that more Israeli companies would participate in the CIIE held in Shanghai next time or other events held in other places of China.
The Israeli government will have a country exhibition pavilion in the CIIE, which will mainly present Israeli innovation and good bilateral relations. In addition, a group of Israeli companies will also exhibit their products in the CIIE.
Akunis will fly to Shanghai to open the Israeli pavilion in the CIIE. It will be his third visit to China after previous visits to China respectively in 1998 and 2017.
Israel and China have a "really tight relationship" and Israeli participation in the CIIE event reflects the "very good connections" between the two countries and the two markets, said Akunis.
Since China and Israel established full diplomatic relations in 1992, mutual visits and political exchanges at all levels of governments have been conducted frequently.
Particularly, after the "Innovative Comprehensive Partnership" was established when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited China in March 2017, bilateral cooperation has been turning increasingly robust.
When talking about the underway negotiations of China-Israel Free Trade Agreement, Akunis said more cooperation between Chinese and Israeli companies would be seen if the two sides sign the new agreement.
"I am for free markets and it is the right way to lead the modern economy in the world," noted Akunis.
In 1992, the bilateral trade value stood at only 50 U.S. million dollars; in 2017, it soared to over 13 billion dollars. China is now Israel's largest trading partner in Asia and the third largest across the world.
With regard to the cooperation between China and Israel in the hi-tech sector, the scientific minister said it is high priority in Israeli policy to push forward the collaboration almost in every field of science and technology.
Chinese and Israeli scientists must work together on joint researches, including brain research, nano technology as well as other fields of science and technology, said Akunis.
Akunis said the Israeli side would sign a new memorandum of understanding with Shanghai Municipality to enhance mutual cooperation including joint research and students exchange.
In 2014, China and Israel established the mechanism of the China-Israel Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation (JCIC), with the aim of better enhancing and coordinating innovation cooperation in various fields. The fourth meeting of the JCIC was just concluded in Israel in October this year.
Israel is attracting more investment from China with many Chinese companies building research and development centers in Israel. The total amount of investment from China in Israel has exceeded 7 billion dollars.
"We already see a lot of Chinese companies work very successfully in Israel in a lot of fields," said Akunis, adding that this is good for both sides and the next generation of Israelis will also be familiar to the Chinese market and the Chinese industry.