Israeli ready to advance trade ties with Manila

Asia's Tech News Daily

Israeli ready to advance trade ties with Manila
© The Manila Times NEW Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss

New Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss is looking forward to Israel advancing its partnership and friendship with the Philippines, particularly in areas of innovation and technology.

“My vision is to see a very close partnership in the field of innovation and technologies,’ the Israeli envoy said during a The Manila Times roundtable forum.

The envoy said his country has in fact started to increase its representation in the Philippines following the opening of consulate in Davao last year, bringing to four Israel’s representations in the Philippines.

“I just went back from Davao last week. I was there for official visit for three days. And it shows we are now fully represented in the Philippines. We have embassy in Manila, we have our honorary consulates in Cebu and now in Davao,” Fluss said.

The Philippines has four representations in Israel. These include an embassy in Tel Aviv and consulates in Ashdod, Haifa and Jerusalem.

“So basically, we are in full force trying to move forward the relations and things are working very well. We are very much accepted and there is a lot of interest. We’re working hard to make sure that it really happens,” he said.

He stressed that both countries’ relations have made a significant step forward with the historic visit of President Rodrigo Duterte in 2018, becoming the first active Philippine president to visit Israel.

“He didn’t just come to Israel for pilgrimage for holy lands. There were political issues and many other issues, but I think it was a very strong signal to us a government,” the envoy said.

“It is time to increase the cooperation. I can say that this will reflect in my priorities, where Israel will also start today in terms of what we (can) share with the Philippines,” Fluss said.

The Israeli ambassador said the Philippines could learn from the experience of the foreign companies who have put up research and development centers in Israel looking to expand their business hub overseas.

As a global hub for innovation, he said Israel has attracted multinational companies either scouting for new technologies or buying high-tech startup companies in Israel.

Currently, Fluss said there are 350 multinational companies established in Israel, including a rising number of unicorns

“We have more than 50 unicorns (startup private companies valued at least $1 billion) and their number is increasing rapidly,” the envoy said.

Investing globally

The ambassador said Israel is looking to expand its investment overseas beyond the traditional destinations Europe and the United States, to include the Philippines and other Asian countries.

With a 10-million population, the Israeli envoy said their market is not big enough to serve all those technologies in its home soil. “This is why Israelis are always looking out.” “We must create much more partnerships in area of technology, getting some of the Israeli entrepreneurs more involved in the scene here in the Philippines,” Fluss said.

“We need to develop new technology which are already from the beginning are planned to hit solutions to challenges here in the Philippines, not just for local Israeli market but to use this together with Filipino entrepreneurs,” he added.

He pointed to the availability of training and education institutions and the English-speaking human resource as added factors that will work to the advantage of the Philippines.

“This is my main goal for the coming few years,” he said.

The envoy said that last year, Israel opened an economic and trade office in Manila, manned by a representative of its Ministry of Economy, to focus on creating business connections with both private and government sector.

“The daily implementation of this is to get businesses together because in the long-term they need to see profits, need to see their goal, they have to bring an income to their shareholders,” Fluss said.

“We also have now, since a year ago, a representative from the Israeli Ministry of Defense to focus also on issues of defense and security cooperation, looking in general to focus also on issue of technologies. Israel is a source of a lot of defense technologies and systems,” he said.

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