Israel Seeks Asia Trade as Europe, U.S. Stall: Chart of the Day

Israel is looking to fast-growing markets in Asia to boost its exports as growth in developed countries remains muted following the global crisis.

Traditionally, Israel’s largest trade partners have been the U.S. and Europe, which together buy more than 50 percent of its $90 billion in civilian exports. The CHART OF THE DAY shows Israel is increasingly boosting trade with countries such as China and India, which are growing faster than developed economies.

In October, exports to Asia tied with the U.S., with each accounting for 23 percent of goods sold abroad. Fifteen years ago, Asia accounted for 13 or 14 percent of exports, according to Ohad Cohen, director of Israel’s Foreign Trade Administration at the Economy Ministry.

“We want to diversify,” Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said in a phone interview from Beijing. “We think that looking decades forward, this is the best policy to have a wide diversification.”

In May, an Israeli government committee set a goal of doubling exports to China to $5 billion within five years. Israel’s exports to Asia include fertilizers, machinery, computer equipment, agricultural and water technology and medical devices.

The euro area economy grew by an estimated 0.8 percent in 2014, and the U.S. by 2.2 percent, the International Monetary Fund said in October. At the same time, China grew by 7.4 percent, and India, by 5.6 percent, the IMF said.