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      Israel's New Focus: Exports to India, China over US, EU

      Israel's new economic policy puts more emphasis on exports to China, India and South America over the US and EU.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 8/14/2011, 7:39 PM

      Fin. Min. Steinitz and MK Gafni
      Fin. Min. Steinitz and MK Gafni
      Flash 90

      Israel is working to safeguard its economy by focusing less on the United States and Europe and more on countries to the east and south, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said at Sunday's Cabinet meeting.

      “Over the past two years the Finance Ministry has led a change from Israeli exports to the United States and Europe in the direction of China, India and South America,” he said. “In the past year the number of exports to those countries has gone up by 20%, from 33% to 40%.”

      Steinitz was responding to concerns that the financial situation in the U.S., coupled with the low dollar, could impact Israel's exports and economy.

      The Foreign Ministry has put more emphasis on new ties as well; FM Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) has led an initiative to strengthen Israel's relations with countries in South America, Africa and the Balkans, as well as with Greece.

      Steinitz also declared Sunday that Israel must be careful when making any adjustments to the national budget. “We are walking on a very narrow bridge. If we make any significant departures from our economic policy, we are likely to fall from the bridge very quickly,” he warned.

      “We need to keep following the principles that got us out of the [financial] crisis quickly,” he opined.

      His statement backed a warning from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who said Sunday that hasty reforms could do more harm than good. “If we end up bankrupt... we will solve neither the economic problems nor the social ones,” Netanyahu noted.