In the past six months exports to the US fell by some 20%, according to Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute CEO Avi Hefetz.
Due to the change in export volumes to different destinations, exports to the US made up only 25% of all exports (excluding diamonds) in July-August, compared to 28% in the same period last year.
In total, export volumes in 2011 dropped by 1.4%, to $1.9 billion. Hefetz expressed his concerns over the figures, in light of the fact that exports to the US and European Union make up 58% of all Israeli good exports.
July-August also recorded a first drop this year – of 9.5% - in exports to the EU compared to the two previous months, which did not stem from the differences in the euro and dollar exchange rates.
Compared to the same period last year, exports to the EU rose by 14%, to some $2.3 billion. Exports to Asia and other countries (Latin America, Eastern Europe and Australia) remained unchanged.
According to the IEICI, the total export of goods in July-August amounted to $7.5 billion, a 5% drop compared the two previous months but a 7.5% rise compared to the same period last year.
Meanwhile, the IEICI has formed a NIS 46 million ($12.5 MILLION) plan to further exports in light of the crisis in Israel's traditional export markets. The plan, a continuation of the "Shavit" program launched in late 2008, has been submitted to the industry, trade and labor minister and its budget and implementation are being discussed.
The new program, called "Meteor", focuses on deepening export activities in developing markets in Southeast Asia and Latin America. In addition to China, India and Brazil, the program focuses in Mexico, Vietnam and South Korea, in areas where the Israeli industry has a relative advantage and high demand.
Technological exports will be advanced too, focusing on communications and cleantch in US and several European countries.
The program will offer a "toolbox" to help exporters, including exhibitions, international bids, location of distributors, advanced studies and courses, and will meet the needs of "unique sectors" – as part of the plan to integrate the Arab and ultra-Orthodox sectors in the export industry.
The "Shavit program", launched during the previous economic crisis, included 187 exporters, 20% of whom finalized deals, 80% who are in advanced talks, and 50% who located an agent, distributor or business partner.
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