This year, the Foreign Trade Administration in the Ministry of Economy will expand by 30% its budget for aid programs it operates for exporting companies. These are the "smart money" programs, the international projects and tenders fund, and the infrastructure consortia fund. In 2016, the Administration gave exporters that participated in these three programs support to the tune of NIS 60 million.
The programs in question assist Israeli companies that seek to expand their activity in target markets around the world and establish a presence in them. The goal is thereby to boost future Israeli exports.
Exports totaled $92 billion last year. The target set by the Ministry of Economy and Industry is that by 2020 exports of goods and services from Israel will reach $100 billion.
The ministry's figures show that, in 2016, 240 exporting companies submitted applications for aid from the Foreign Trade Administration on one or other of the tracks it offers. 129 of the applications were approved and 111 rejected. 39 of the rejections were because the budget was insufficient.
The Ministry of Economy and Industry believes that the larger budget for this year it will be able to support more companies. The sector from which most aid applications came was software and communications, with 58 applications. This was followed by electronics companies, with 22 applications, consumer goods companies, with 21 applications, and industrial companies and companies in agriculture, cleantech, and food and beverages, with around 20 applications each.
Most of the companies applied for the "smart money" program, which gives exporters aid for two years to support their efforts to penetrate new markets and to expand substantially their activity in one of their markets. 100 companies participated in this program last year and received grants totaling NIS 48 million. Among the recipients were wineries seeking to expand to new markets, a company that constructs low-cost greenhouses in Africa, and a consortium of Israeli companies operating in smart city projects in the Czech Republic.
The market most in demand among the companies that participated in the three programs was the US: 79 of the 240 applications submitted last year were to do with expanding exports to the US. In second place, some way behind, was the Chinese market, with 35 applications, followed by India, the subject of 20 applications, Japan, with 15 applications, and Germany, with 11 applications. "These were markets for which most of the applications were submitted, and the approvals were in line with that," said Foreign Trade Administration head Ohad Cohen.
The figures also show that 80% of the companies that applied for support last year were from the center and north of the companies, and 20% from the Jerusalem region and the south. "The wide range of companies applying for the aid programs we offer shows that there is no magic formula for success in international markets, and each exporter has its own special needs," says Cohen, "Since 2014, Israeli exports have stayed at around $90 billion annually, because of the fall in the shekel-euro exchange rate and falls in oil prices, which affects prices of refined oil products exported from Israel. This is a difficult time for exporters from Israel, and it's important that they should be acquainted with the aid that the state offers them."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 13, 2017
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