BERLIN - German electronics giant Siemens is considering investing considerable capital in Israel, according to recent meetings in Germany between representatives of the Federation of Israeli Economic Organizations and Siemens. The meetings were held to find ways of increasing cooperation in R&D and investment in Israel.
A proposal was also raised for investment in the multinational companies program with the Office of the Chief Scientist to promote technological cooperation.
A delegation of the Economic Organizations' coordination bureau, headed by the Manufacturers' Association President Shraga Brosh, recently met Siemens representatives and representatives of the German pharmaceutical company Bayer Schering in Berlin.
Further discussions are expected during Israel Innovation Day which will be held in Berlin on December 6 with the participation of dozens of Israeli and German companies. The Innovation Day, held under the auspices of German Minister of Economics and Technology Reiner Bruederle and Israel's Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Benjamin Ben Eliezer, will focus on Israeli developments in the field of life sciences, homeland security, clean technologies, programming and communications.
The Israeli delegation was invited to Germany by the Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA). Delegates will meet German ministers of finance, economics and technology, and labor and welfare, as well as senior figures in the office of Chancellor Angela Merkel and representatives of leading German firms.
Delegates emphasized that the BDA is an important ally for Israel in the field of international business. "The Germans make sure that any attempt to turn business debates in political or anti-Israel directions is prevented," they said.
First meeting since Israel joined OECD
This was the first time Israeli business figures had met with their German counterparts and with German government officials since Israel joined the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The participants also discussed ways to cooperate in committees and the new frameworks of the OECD, in which Germany is also a member, and possibilities for cooperation in the framework of the European Union.
"During conversations with German ministers, they expressed their esteem for the achievements of Israeli industry, and their clear desire to increase industrial cooperation between the two countries," Shraga Brosh said to Ynet. "Both sides have a lot to learn from each other. The Germans coped well with the last financial crisis by means of organized unpaid leave for workers. During the leave, companies continued to pay social benefits while the government paid unemployment benefits."
"Israel hopes to increase German and European investment in Israeli industry via the Innovation Day," Brosh said. "Some 90% of foreign investment comes from the US and only 10% from Europe. It's time the Europeans saw Israeli potential."
Inon Elroi, commercial attaché in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor office in Berlin, noted that the second call this year for cooperation in industrial R&D between Israeli and German companies will be published in the coming days. Following the first such call, initiated by Ben Eliezer and his German counterpart last January, 15 joint projects were submitted and are currently being checked before approval. Every German company which employs up to 1,000 people is eligible to submit such a proposal.
Trade between Israel and Germany for the period January to June 2010 was $2.59 billion. Exports to Germany reached some $785 million and imports $1.8 billion.
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