Israel and Russia will launch talks to potentially open a free trade agreement. The negotiations will begin early next year.
The move could triple Israeli exports to Russia within 10 years. Last year alone, Russia rang up an $820 million tab in Israeli goods.
The news comes as Israel’s Foreign Trade Risks Insurance Corporation, Ashra, signed a deal with its Russian counterpart to increase coverage for Israeli businesses exporting to Russia and former Soviet nations.
“The agreement will greatly ease the activities of Israeli companies and entrepreneurs in the markets of Russian and the CIS,” said Zvi Chalamish, Ashra’s CEO.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich added: “Taking into account mutual advantages which can be reached after the relevant treaty is signed, we want to say that we will surely find a solid basis for such an agreement and complete this process.”
Russia has long been interested in furthering trade ties with Israel, in particular over interest in Israel’s booming technologies sector. The Jewish state has been cautious in widening ties, while still maintaining a healthy trade agreement with the Kremlin.
Israel largely imports oil, natural materials and chemicals from Russia. In turn, the Jewish state exports to Russia automobiles, pharmaceuticals, plastics, food products and medical equipment in large numbers.