Deputy Prime Minister of China Tang Jiaxuan paid an official visit to the Israel Diamond Exchange this week to meet with the leadership of the diamond industry. The Deputy PM, the highest ranking Chinese official to visit Israel in many years, came as a guest of the Israel Government.
President of the Israel Diamond Exchange Shmuel Schnitzer said that the visit was important in promoting relations between the diamond industries in both countries and in expanding trade in diamonds with China. He noted that the visit to the Diamond Exchange was the only one made by the Chinese leader, beyond meetings with government officials. Schnitzer said that China is a very important developing market for the Israeli diamond industry. The first official delegation of the Israel diamond industry visited China in June and met with the heads of the industry there.
“In the past three years Israel’s diamond exports to China have grown impressively, and relations with the Diamond Exchange in Shanghai have strengthened. China has the potential to become a major consumer market for Israeli diamond exports,” said Schnitzer.
Yair Cohen, managing director of the bourse said that in 2004 gross exports of polished diamonds to China and to Hong Kong, gateway to the Far East and to China, stood at 14% of Israel’s total exports—$1.4 billion (or $850 million net.) “We believe that within the next several years China will become a major market for all consumer goods, including diamonds. This will grow way beyond the figures we know today,” Cohen said.
During his visit Tang Jiaxuan met with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, as well as with senior ministers and government officials.