Republic World - 09 December 2022
Israel Ambassador Naor Gilon says, ’India-Israel to finalise FTA soon’
By Zaini Majeed
“When Dr. Jaishankar was in Israel, he spoke about going forward with FTA. But unfortunately, it’s a bit stacked as we are doing so many things," Gilon said.
Israel’s Ambassador to India, Naor Gilon, on Thursday indicated that Israel is planning to kick start dialogue regarding the India-Israel Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations soon, adding that he had spoken to India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during his visit to Israel In May 2022. “When Dr. Jaishankar was in Israel, he spoke about going forward with FTA. But unfortunately, it’s a bit stacked as we are doing so many things in parallel, including FTAs with other countries,” ambassador Gilon told ANI. Furthermore, he said, “I hope it will be back on track soon and we can finalize the FTA.”
FTA to be finalised if ’reciprocally beneficial’ for New Delhi
India’s commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal had earlier noted that India would not finalize the free trade agreement (FTA) with Israel until it gets a good deal and that the pact has to be “reciprocally beneficial for New Delhi. The two ally countries have bilateral annual trade of about $8 billion and have been engaged in FTA negotiations since May 2010 with little success. Israel’s tariffs on goods and commodities are still too low, Goyal iterated. He further noted that the negotiation, on the other hand, with the 27-member bloc paved way for a new-age FTA that managed to exceed expectations and go beyond the pillars of goods, services, and investment.
India and Israel have held several rounds of negotiations including the eighth round held in Israel from 24th to 26th November last year. Israel has emerged as one of its biggest trading partners for India, including the weapons supplier alongside the United States and Russia. India meanwhile is the biggest buyer of Israeli military equipment and Israel is the second-largest supplier of military equipment to India after Russia. Since 1999, a military partnership between the two nations was worth around US$9 billion and also diversified into several sectors such as pharmaceuticals, agriculture, IT and telecom, precious stones and metals, chemicals and mineral products, base metals, and homeland security.