Against the backdrop of a decline in foreign investments in Israel, Minister of Finance Dr. Yuval Steinitz, and Acting Director General of the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Doron Cohen, joined by leading members of the Israeli business community, headed this morning for Europe to attend the Bloomberg Sovereign Debt Conference, with the aim of promoting Israel as an economic haven and attractive investment center.
The delegation accompanying the minister will include the Capital Market, Insurance and Savings Commissioner in the Ministry of Finance, Prof. Adi Sarig; the Chairman of the ISCAR company, Mr. Eitan Wertheimer; the General Manager of Intel Israel and Vice President of Intel International, Ms. Maxine Fassberg; the Chief Scientist in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, Mr. Avi Hasson; the CEO of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, Ms. Esther Levanon, and the former Director General of the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Haim Shani.
The Bloomberg Sovereign Debt Conference
is being held to discuss developments in the European debt crisis and assess opportunities for attractive and sustainable investments. At the conference, the Israeli delegation will meet with senior European policymakers and high-level executives of European financial institutions and spell out to them the advantages of the Israeli economy against the background of today's global economic challenges.
The activities of the minister and the delegation at the conference are one facet of an international public information campaign that is being launched by the Ministry of Finance to attract investments to Israel and exploit the opportunities presented by the complex global financial situation. The campaign follows a decline in recent months in foreign investments in Israel and is based on an understanding of the importance of foreign investments at the present juncture for sustaining economic growth. It will be conducted in cooperation with some of the world's leading economic media outlets, ensuring a wide reach that includes key financial decision makers.
The visit of the Minister of Finance to Germany follows a series of meetings held by him in recent months with officials in India, the United States and China, with a view to generating foreign interest in investment opportunities in Israel and expanding Israeli exports.
The conference in Germany is being organized by Bloomberg and will receive extensive media coverage, including on Bloomberg TV which caters to an investor and business audience that is of particular importance for Israel. Bloomberg TV and Bloomberg Business Week are media leaders, worldwide and especially in Europe, and they exert great influence on decision makers in government and in the business world.
Dr. Steinitz will be one of the featured speakers at the conference. In his presentation he will portray Israel as an attractive investment destination that has charted a prudent and responsible course through the global economic crisis
, maintaining impressive financial strength and security in the face of complex challenges.
The conference, which is to be held in Frankfurt, the capital of the German and, to some extent, the European economy, will be attended by some 150 opinion leaders, among them the heads of international financial organizations as well as leading banks and investment houses, international rating companies and central regulatory agencies. The Minister of Finance and the Israeli delegation will play a significant part in the conference, with the minister scheduled to moderate several panel discussions on the Israeli economy as a model of economic strength and stability in a time of crisis.
* * *
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz: "Israel's achievements over the past few years have been impressive, more so than those of other western economies. However, in order for us to continue to enjoy a level of positive growth, we must attract investments to Israel and maintain at least the same level of investments."
Maxine Fassberg, CEO of Intel Israel and VP of Intel International: "Intel initially came to Israel in 1974 and established its planning center in Haifa. The main reason for its arrival was the quality of the manpower, the engineers, their ability to solve problems in creative and original ways and, ultimately, to provide Intel with solutions that would be used by the company and are still being used to this day. To date, Intel has invested USD 9.4 billion in Israel, while the Israeli government has invested USD 1.3 billion. This partnership has led to the situation today, with Intel’s most advanced technologies being produced in Kiryat Gat. A combination of awesome engineering capabilities, Israel's high quality educational infrastructure, the number of Nobel Prize winners in relation to the population, the blend of educational capabilities and government investments - have made Israel highly attractive to international companies."
Avi Hasson, Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor: "Israel has had the wisdom to build a unique ecosystem for the promotion of the industry of innovation, which has brought 200 foreign companies who chose to establish development centers in the State of Israel, including longstanding players like IBM and Intel, alongside new players such as Apple, which is setting up its only center outside the US.
Today, foreign companies in Israel represent not only the communications and software sectors, but also include companies from a variety of other sectors, such as GM, Merck and Coca-Cola, companies that come to Israel in search of its unique human capital and groundbreaking technologies.
Over the years, the Israeli government has bu! ilt a system of infrastructures for education that encourages entrepreneurship, coupled with an investor-friendly business culture and programs for encouraging capital investments. The fact that Israeli companies raised over USD 2 billion in 2011, with the lion’s share coming from foreign investments, speaks for itself."