During a meeting in Jerusalem on Monday between Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and the governor of China's Heilongjiang Province, Mr. Du Jiahao, Israel and China signed an agricultural cooperation agreement.

The agreement, which involves MASHAV - Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation Israel, will see the two countries cooperating in terms of assistance in constructing demonstration dairy farms. Israel and the Heilongjiang Province already have extensive agricultural cooperation with the province.

During the meeting Ayalon stressed the special relationship between Israel and China, and stated that their friendship is “based on the fact that they are both ancient cultures with historic awareness.” He added that Israel and China’s economies “complement each other. Israel has advanced technology suited to the developing Chinese market and experience in fields that top the Chinese national agenda, such as agriculture and technology.”

Governor Du Jiahao thanked Ayalon for the warm hospitality and added that he was very impressed by Israel. He said that he intends to erect a monument of Jerusalem stone in memory of the Jews who found refuge in Heilongjiang Province during the White Revolution. During that time period, Heilongjiang’s capital, Harbin, provided refuge to tens of thousands of Jews who fled from Russia.

In fact, it seems that China and Israel are growing closer economically. A Global Times report on Tuesday said that Israel is starting to lean toward Asian economies and particularly China, as the demand in the US and Europe has gone down over the past two years, this according to Eugene Kandel, head of the National Economic Council at the Israeli Prime Minister's Office.

Kandel said that Israel is looking to boost ties with China to diversify trade destinations.

Historically, China and Israel began have had trade relations even before the two countries established the diplomatic relations in 1992. In 2005 China was defined by the Israeli Ministry of Industry and Trade as an “Israeli Export Target Country”, in a program whose goal is to to encourage Israeli exports, especially in the fields of Telecommunication and High-Tech, Agro-technology, Security, Environment and Infrastructures to the Chinese market. That same year, a Trade Representative office was established in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, and in 2006 another office was established in the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian. As of 2007, the bilateral trade between the two countries had surpassed $4 billion. 41.8 percent of Israel’s exports to China that year were in the field of telecommunications and high-tech equipment, as well as machinery and electrical equipment, while 25.8 percent of China’s imports to Israel that year were in the same field.

Additional importing and exporting between Israel and China is in such fields as chemical related products and medical and optical equipment.

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