Foreign Trade

   The foreign markets for Israeli products and even the pattern of industrial growth were shaped by the Arab boycott that precluded the possibility of Israel developing close trade links to the economies of its immediate neighbors. Instead, the country had to seek more distant markets. The peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan and the accords with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) led to a partial suspension of the Arab boycott in the early 1990s, which resulted in only modest improvements in the level and quality of commercial interaction between Israel and its neighbors. It is also a fact that there is limited compatibility between Israel's advanced industrial economy and those of its Arab and Muslim neighbors.
   Israel's exports reached about $40.14 billion in 2005 and included such products as manufactured goods, including high-tech electronics and computer software, diamonds, citrus and other fruits and agricultural products, chemicals, plastics, rubber products, mining and quarrying, textiles, processed foods, wood products, paper, and jewelry. Tourism is also an important earner of foreign exchange. Israeli imports, valued at more than $43.19 billion in 2005, included raw materials; machinery; equipment and vehicles for investment; consumer goods; rough diamonds; fuels; and ships, aircraft, and other military equipment.
   Israel's major trading partners include the United States and the European Union (EU), as well as China and Hong Kong. The establishment of free trade agreements with the United States and the EU were important for Israel's export market. Israel has also signed free trade zone agreements with Canada, Turkey, and several countries in eastern Europe, and it has made important economic inroads in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) and Asia. Israel's economy is fully interconnected with the global economy, to the extent that economic trends elsewhere in the world, such as in Russia and Asia, have a direct bearing on the well-being of the Israeli economy.
   See also Zim Shipping Line.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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