Better ties reflect changing mood

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 April, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 April, 1996, 12:00am

In the wake of improved relations with several countries and the collapse of communist regimes in eastern Europe and central Asia, Israel established diplomatic and economic links in Asia, the Middle East and Europe, thus opening new markets.

This is reflected in the growth in Israeli exports to Asia. In 1991, exports to Asia decreased by 4.1 per cent, followed by successive increases of 52 per cent in 1992, 49.6 per cent in 1993 and 25.8 per cent in 1994.

There has been a significant increase in income from tourism as well. Income nearly doubled from 1991 to 1994, from $1.5 to $2.89 billion.

There has been a marked improvement in Israel's economic relations with Egypt, with the movement of businessmen in both directions and the formation of joint ventures.

Meanwhile, following the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty, a trade agreement has been signed between the two countries.

Israeli trade with Morocco has recently expanded, with Israeli exports to that country totalling tens of millions of dollars.

The peace process has aroused great interest in the international business community with regard to the regional potential of the Middle East in time of peace. Many examples can be cited of co-operation with foreign companies which for years refrained from activity in the Israeli market, whether because of the Arab boycott or because of instability in the region.

The fact that at the end of 1994 Japanese authorities allowed the country's firms to invest in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange underlines the changing mood.