JERUSALEM - "China sees great opportunity in its cooperation with Israel," Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said on Wednesday, during an exclusive interview with Xinhua in Jerusalem.
"Israel is one of China's important economic and trade partners in west Aisa," said Chen, who is wrapping up his four-day regional tour. Sino-Israeli trade volume reached $7.65 billion in 2010, nearly 150 times of the number in 1992, when the two countries established diplomatic relations.
"The fields of cooperation have expanded considerably, from agriculture to renewable energy, bio-medicine, electronics, communications and desalination," Chen said. "Beside the national level, the bilateral cooperation at local levels also gains momentum in recent years," he added, "Jiangsu, Hebei and some 20 other provinces have engaged in close collaboration with Israel."
"China's market and manufacturing capacity, plus Israel's high- tech background, will give our cooperation a promising future," Chen said, "My delegation aims to strengthen economic partnership with Israel and further expand and deepen the bilateral cooperation."
During his visit, Chen met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. Both leaders pledged to join hands with China to expand economic and technological collaboration.
Chen highlighted the agricultural cooperation between the two countries, citing a series of programs, including training centers and model farms. Israeli drip irrigation system, which is known for its wide and successful usage, has been adopted in China. A 2009 joint research plan to treat waste water using nano- technology has been completed and put into use.
Chen's delegation included about 30 Chinese businessmen, who he described as "eager to seek partnership" with their Israeli counterparts." They took part in a business forum, in which the Chinese and Israeli entrepreneurs held insightful discussion about the prospects of cooperation.
Chen said that China is especially looking forward to cooperating with Israel in green industry, such as renewable energy, water processing, bio-medicine, and electronic and information technology.
During his stay in the region, Chen held talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday in the West Bank city of Ramallah. China and Palestinian National Authority (PNA) signed an agreement, in which the PNA would get in-kind assistance worth of $5.5 million.
"The cooperation between China and the Palestinians have been developing fast in recent years," Chen said, "I discussed with my Palestinian counterpart the way to effectively enhance our economic and trade partnership."