Shanghai and Israel yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of science and technology. 

The two countries also vowed to pursue collaborations between enterprises and establish a China-Israel innovation park in the city.

The MOU was signed by Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong and Israeli Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis, who is in Shanghai for the first China International Import Expo.

Ying said Shanghai will enhance collaboration on science and technology with Israel, and make the innovation park a model site for such partnership for a win-win development.

The MOU focuses on areas like life science, especially brain science, agricultural technology, energy and environment, among other sectors. 

Joint research labs are also being discussed as part of the understanding. The collaboration matches Shanghai’s goal of becoming a global cradle for new academic ideas, scientific discoveries, technical inventions and industrial advances.

“It has been a huge change, like the changed relations between China and Israel,” Akunis told Shanghai Daily. 

“It is a huge and very positive change. Twenty-six years after we signed the first agreement on diplomatic relations, I can say now we are in the peak of all times,” Akunis said.

Israel, a “start-up nation” known for its innovation, has prepared for the CIIE for almost a year. About 10 companies have attended the first-ever import exposition, featuring the theme of “innovation.”

Its food-processing company Tnuva will bring chefs to cook Jewish food such as Mediterranean hummus with yogurt sauce at the expo. 

The company made top news in 2014 when Shanghai-based Bright Food took a controlling stake in the second-largest acquisition deal between China and Israel at the time.

Six companies from the Israel Diamond Exchange will exhibit their shining products, as half of the world’s diamonds are processed in Israel. The exchange, the largest diamond trading complex in the world, recently struck a deal with China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba to make loose stones available as direct sales to Chinese consumers on Ali Auction, its luxury platform.

Metal cutting tools maker Iscar, which established its China branch in 1998, now has China as its third-largest market.

“There are a lot of Israeli companies here, which reflect the good connection between the two countries, and also a reflection of the free market,” said Akunis.

“The inspiration for good trade between China and Israel is also reflected in the increasing number of trade — US$11 billion — and it is only the beginning.” 



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