Business / Economy

Israel requests to join Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-04-01 16:03

JERUSALEM  - Israel has signed a letter requesting to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) initiated by China, Emmanuel Nahshon, spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Xinhua on Wednesday morning.

According to Nahshon, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed a letter on Tuesday requesting to join the AIIB, along with more than 40 other countries requesting to join the venture.

According to a statement the Foreign Ministry issued on the matter, Israel hopes that the membership in the new bank would "create opportunities for the Israeli companies to be incorporated into different infrastructure-related projects, which will be financed by the bank."

The AIIB, expected to be formally established by the end of 2015, will be an international financial institution to fund infrastructure projects in Asia.

Forty countries have already applied to be founding members of the bank, including the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Korea, Switzerland and Denmark. Other Middle Eastern countries like Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and Katar have also filed requests.

The International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank and other international financial bodies had already expressed their willingness to cooperate with the new bank proposed by China.

Israel and China have substantially increased their economic cooperation in recent years.

Earlier this week, a joint Israel-China task force aimed at boosting business cooperation between the two countries was launched in Tel Aviv.

It aimed to expand bilateral economic ties and doubling Israeli exports to China within five years to a sum of about $5 billion per year.

Eugene Kandel, head of the task force, said that 2014 saw "dramatic increase" in Chinese investments in Israel, with the trend expected to continue in 2015.

China is Israel's fourth largest export target in the world and its largest in Asia.

According to data by the Israel Export Institute, Israeli trade with China in 2014 was estimated at $8.52 billion, a four percent increase from 2013.

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