European Union Sponsoring Trade Event in Israel
JERUSALEM (AP) _ The European Union will sponsor a first-ever trade conference in Israel aimed at increasing joint business projects between Europe and the Jewish state, officials said Thursday.
Some 300 Israeli companies and 900 visitors will participate in the two-day conference in Jerusalem at the end of October, said Michael Ryan, an EU representative.
It will be the third in a series of such events _ known as ``Medpartenariat″ _ held since 1994, when the EU decided to expand relations with non-member states in the Mediterranean basin.
``The concept has proven to be a very successful formula for creating business ventures,″ Ryan said. He said ``at least 30 percent″ of the participants in the previous conferences in Morocco and Turkey reported reaching deals.
Ryan said that Israel is ``by far the most industrialized nation in the region″ and that the conference would emphasize Israeli high-tech.
High-tech products account for about a quarter of Israel’s $14 billion in exports _ fueling an economic boom that has seen the economy grow by a third since 1990.
Although the EU is Israel’s largest trading partner, European investment in Israel has been relatively meager. Israeli officials hope the weakening of the Arab boycott against Israel would bolster European investments.
Israel has also asked the EU to allow other non-members to participate in the event, including Egypt, Morocco and the Palestinian autonomy.