by Nick Kolyohin
JERUSALEM, May 12 (Xinhua) -- With the suspension of international flights and most domestic economic activities, Israel has witnessed a drastic economic slowdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Still, as China, a major trade and investment partner of Israel, is gradually resuming its economic activities and restoring trade with other countries, Israeli business insiders eye greater opportunities and see brighter prospects for bilateral relations.
Adiv Baruch, chairman of Israel Export Institute, told Xinhua in an interview that continuing to build long-term cooperation between China and Israel is one of the main goals of his working plan.
"We believe that COVID-19 had created quite a few new opportunities for developing a business relationship between China and Israel," Baruch said.
Ever since China struggled with the COVID-19 outbreak, the Israeli industry has endeavored to maintain its logistics of export and import with Chinese manufacturers, he said.
Baruch said he hopes flights between the two countries will open up soon so partners from both countries can meet again and continue to build mutual business relationships.
A lot of Israeli companies have supported their Chinese colleagues during the COVID-19 outbreak, which the Chinese companies remembered well and have expressed their appreciation, said Roy Roznek, member of the Presidium of Federation of Israeli Chamber of Commerce.
"We didn't cancel our orders," Roznek, also an importer, told Xinhua.
The current trade volume between Israel and China is about 70-75 percent of that before the COVID-19 outbreak, he estimated, adding he believes trade will return to normal quickly.
The Asia-Pacific region is known as the biggest market in the world, said Keren Maimon, a managing partner at Brilliance Ventures, an investment fund to help more Israeli tech and healthcare companies explore other Asian markets.
"We see the tech and innovation cooperation between China and Israel has a broad and rosy prospect," Maimon told Xinhua in an interview.
Israel-China relations have a lot of prospects for the constant development of cooperation in such areas as economy, technology, academy and culture, she added.
In the eyes of Yair Albin, head of Trade and Investments Mission of the Israeli Embassy in Beijing, changes need to be made to secure a brighter future for trade between the two countries.
As a big proportion of trade between China and Israel is being done via touristic flights, the COVID-19 situation has increased the price of air transportation and affected the trade, Albin noted.
"There will be a need for some changes in the way international business is taking place," he told Xinhua.
Besides, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, face-to-face business meetings have been transfered online, with digital conferences and virtual business meetings, among others, striving to fulfill the space vacated by traditional conferences, he said.
Albin suggested that as restrictions on global transportation will continue for some time, business culture will need to adapt itself to the new situation. Enditem