Mr. Oded Tira president of the Israeli Manufacturers Association and chairman of the joint economic forum, called upon the Government to reverse a decision taken by the ministers to close down, due to costs cutting policies, Israel’s trade office in South Africa.
In a letter to the Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr. Ehud Ulmert, Tira claims that the decision was a grave mistake which may not only ruin the already tight diplomatic relationships between the two countries but also endanger the many years of bilateral trade between the business communities.
In his well publicized letter to the Minister, Mr. Tira claimed that during the first quarter of 2004 Israel’s exports to South Africa were up by 9% to us$66M.
The decision to close the South Africa trade office may, according to Mr. Tira, be seen by the South African Government as an indication that the Israeli government cannot separate the political issue from the commercial issue. Mr. Tira reiterated that same mistake had been made by the Government while it re-evaluated the relations with the European community.