A new initiative was launched by Exim Bank recently when a delegation of the Bank led by Shri Y.B. Desai, Managing Director, visited Israel from June 19 - 21, 2000. This was the first such high level visit from the Indian banking industry to Israel.
The objective of the visit was to explore financing mechanisms to facilitate two-way trade and investment flows between India and Israel. This was achieved. Exim Bank signed four Memoranda of Understanding, one with Israel Export Institute, the apex industry body in the country dealing with exports and with the top three banks in Israel viz. Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi and Israel Discount Bank. These three banks have a combined market share of approximately 75%. The MOU with Israel Export Institute envisages regular interaction between the two institutions to facilitate wider dissemination of information on mutual business possibilities in the two countries and to foster greater contacts between Indian and Israeli companies.
The MOUs with the banks envisage identification of mutual business opportunities, exchange of relevant economic, business and financial information conducive to the promotion of bilateral trade between India and Israel, advise companies on either side to develop closer trade relationship, facilitate formation of joint ventures between Indian and Israeli companies, both in India and Israel. Specifically, Exim Bank and the Israeli banks will explore the feasibility of setting up bilateral lines of credit to finance.
bilateral trade. Discussions were held with Israeli Foreign Trade Risk Insurance Corporation, the export credit risk insurance agency of Israel who evinced keen interest in offering cover directly to Exim Bank of India for providing rupee loans to companies for import of machinery, technology from Israel. This would provide currency option to Indian companies availing of credit for importing technology, plants, machinery from Israel.
Shri Desai addressed a Round Table on Indian economy and Exim Bank as a business partner, in Tel Aviv. Exim Bank seeks to promote two-way trade and investment by financing export oriented Indo-Israeli joint ventures in India as well as the equity investment by Indian companies in Israel with the possibility of Exim Bank itself taking equity in some ventures. Exim Bank would also play a pro-active role in providing advisory services to India and Israel firms seeking to form joint ventures or other strategic alliances. Exim Bank seeks to promote cooperation between Indian and Israeli firms in bidding for projects in third countries in the fields of civil construction, water management, agro industrial projects. A study done by Exim Bank and prepared as an Occasional Paper viz. "Israel and India : a Study of Trade Potential" was released in Tel Aviv on June 20, 2000 by the President of Israel Export Institute. Visits were made to some high technology Israeli companies namely Solel (Solar Energy Systems), Scitex (digital printing), Comverse, Gilat Satellite Networks (telecom equipment), Tahal (water management).
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