India’s trade with the Middle East has been rising manifold in the past few quarters. In May this year, India overtook China to become UAE’s largest trading partner.
During the first half of this year, India became Israel’s second-biggest export market from eighth; China climbed to 5th place, up from 11th place in the first half of 2010, according to figures from the Export and International Cooperation Institute.
Israeli exports to India totaled US$990 million, an increase of 102 percent in dollar terms since the same time last year, according to figures released by the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor. The reason was a 63 percent leap in exports by the mining, minerals and quarrying sector, which exported US$228 million worth of products – mostly fertilizer to India. One of the biggest exporters to India in this sector was Dead Sea Works, a subsidiary of Israel Chemicals. Electronics equipment (and warfare systems ) exports to India also grew from less than US$10 million in the first half to US$160 million. Major exporters include ECI Telecom and Comverse, TowerJazz, Elbit Systems and Rafael. Exports to India of metals and metal products increased from US$21 million to US$130 million, an increase of 524 percent.
Following in India’s footsteps, China too is expanding West into Israel. China rose to fifth place with exports to Israel of US$755 million, an increase of US$115 million in dollar terms, mainly because export of electronic components shot up 280 percent to US$268 million in the first half. But other sectors also found markets in China, including metal goods, medical devices, measurement equipment, computer systems and agricultural exports.
Meanwhile the United States’ share of Israeli exports shrank to 28 percent in the first half, compared with 33 percent in January-June 2009. Europe which has traditionally been a major target market for Israeli exporters, partly due to its relative physical proximity increased imports from Israel marginally – from 28 percent in the first half of 2009 to 31 percent this year.
As the emerging markets of China and India grow, Israel is making a concerned effort to shift exports from the West to the East.