Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz told the Knesset Finance Committee today that Israel was diversifying its export markets because of the weakness of the dollar, and that it was reducing its dependence on the US and Europe.
Steinitz said, "The weakness of the dollar worries us because it affects the competitiveness of our exports. The crisis isn't completely over; it threatens us. We've said that part of our task is to divert some exports to emerging markets in Asia and South America. We're seeing this happening. There's a jump in exports to these countries. At this pace, in two or three years, half of our exports will be to what we call 'the rest of the world' (not the US or Europe)."
Commenting on the real estate market, Steinitz said that the pace of building would continue to pick up. "We succeeded in increasing housing starts by 30%. We expect the construction of over 40,000 housing units this year."
Steinitz added, "The Ministry of Finance is considering regulatory measures at the tax level." These measures would follow steps taken earlier this year, such as the temporary exemption from the betterment tax and taxes on the purchase of apartments for investment.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 23, 2011
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