Israeli-japanese Commercial Pact Called Major Economic, Political Breakthrough for Israel

Israel’s largest industrial holding company, the Histadrut-owned Koor Industries, signed an agreement in Tokyo yesterday with the giant Japanese firm of Koichi Ishikawa for the establishment of a joint trading company, to develop commerce between the two nations and to expand their commerce in other parts of the world, particularly Africa. The contract was signed by Meir Amit, general director of Koor and Koichi Ishikawa, president of the Japanese concern.

Israeli circles hailed the deal as a major economic and political breakthrough for Israel. The Japanese firm has connections with large steel plants and will enable Israel to import steel at much lower prices than it pays now. Economic circles here said the agreement would result in doubling Israel imports from Japan to about $100 million as early as next year. Another immediate effect of the agreement will be to increase the importance–and hence the development–of Eilat, Israel’s Red Sea port and its major outlet for trade with Africa, Asia and the Far East.

Eilat will serve as the port of entry for raw materials purchased by Israel in Japan and as the shipping port for the re-export of finished products. The Japanese connection is expected to assist the entry of Israeli products into the Japanese market. Koichi Ishikawa has commercial outlets in 32 Japanese cities. It is especially interested in breaking into African markets where Koor Industries already has substantial outlets. Politically, the agreement was seen here as breaching the Arab League boycott of Israel which has hitherto kept many Japanese firms from entering into large scale business relations with Israel.

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