War has ‘no major impact’ on PH-Israel trade
MANILA -Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Illan Fluss on Friday said the war in the Jewish state will not have any major impact on the two-way trade between the Philippines and the Middle Eastern country, calming concerns that it may have dire economic impact to countries with trade relations with them.
Fluss said Israel’s airports and seaports are still operational despite their ongoing war with Hamas militants, adding that the movement of people and the flow of goods into and out of the country continues.
“So the infrastructure for the continuation of the Israeli economy and the trade between the countries is still very complete, is still operational,” the Israeli ambassador said when asked if they foresee exports and imports into Israel taking a hit.
“I don’t see [a] major direct impact on bilateral trade. But we are still also doing some more analysis,” he added.
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics of Israel, exported goods from Israel to the Philippines grew by 94 percent in 2022 compared to previous year, reaching $340 million in total value.
Machinery and electronic equipment—which includes semiconductors, telephone sets, electronic integrated circuits, automatic vending machines, valves and data processing equipment—were the top exported category, making up 45 percent of the total with a value of $183 million.
Transportation equipment are the next most exported goods with a 30 percent share, followed by base metals with 9 percent, optical equipment with 5.6 percent, chemical products with 2.6 percent, rubber and plastics with 2.2 percent, and agricultural products with 1.6 percent.
Meanwhile, Israel’s imports from the Philippines reached $193 million in total value in 2022, growing by 39 percent from the previous year.
Machinery and electronic equipment, which includes electronic integrated circuits, printing machinery, engine and motors, telephone sets, vacuum cleaners and water heaters accounted for 83 percent of the goods imported by Israel from the Philippines.
This is followed by agriculture products with a 6.1-percent share, textile and footwear with a 5.3-percent share, and optical and medical goods with 3.7 percent.
Fluss also said that the scholarship program sponsored by their government through Agrostudies international training center for trainers and professors from developing countries, including the Philippines, will also continue.
“There are still students in Israel. I know that all of them have been visited both by the organizers of the internship program and also by the embassy,” Fluss said.
“And to the best of my understanding, they are still there and they are not being repatriated. I think there are a few who wanted to come back, but there are also those who are staying,” he added.
According to the Israeli government, close to 7,000 Filipinos have attended the program from 2006 to 2022.
Earlier this month, 18 Filipinos who were part of the program returned to the Philippines safely after being stranded for four days to a week in Tel Aviv. INQ