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Israel Ambassador Moshe Ben-Yaacov said Jan. 14 that economic relations between Japan and his country are growing quickly, thanks to improved peace prospects in the Middle East.Bilateral trade has reached $2.2 billion, and increasing numbers of cars and other Japanese products are flowing into Israel, Ben-Yaacov told The Japan Times. Israel’s solid economic growth and competitive workforce are attracting increased foreign investment, particularly in the field of high-technology, according to the envoy. Its gross domestic product grew 6.5 percent in 1994 and 6.9 percent in 1995. Its per capita income is about $17,000, he added.Ben-Yaacov said Israel hopes to increase exports to Japan, particularly of fruit and other fresh agricultural products, and is working on opening direct flights between the countries to attract more tourism. With its efficient infrastructure and industrial base, Israel wants to be a business center in the Middle East, he said. Israel’s high-technology industry has been growing by 15 percent to 20 percent annually, and high-tech products now account for 40 percent of total exports, according to Israel statistics.

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