Interview with Mr. Adiv Baruch, the Chairman of the Israel Export Institute
We will be grateful for a short presentation of the Israel Export Institute – the main areas of activity and the goals that you set for yourself, especially during current challenging time.
Israel Export Institute was formed 62 years ago by the State of Israel realizing that economic relations are stronger, more sustainable and much more important than any diplomatic relationships. Israel as a country is too small to manage and to be able to absorb all innovations and technologies it has. Israel relies on export. The economic relations actually built Israel, it has been trading for years with countries Israel doesn’t have diplomatic relationships.
Israel Export Institute is the execution arm of the economic diplomacy that is working together and fully synchronized with Ministry of Economy, Foreign Trade Administration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, general consuls, ambassadors around the world. Also, it has to create platforms to those countries where Israel still doesn’t have diplomatic relationship.
One key important fact about Israel Export Institute is that it was formed as a public-private nonprofit organization. That means that the government has 50% and 50% are Associations of Industry and Trade. It’s a very unique position to have a macro understanding of Israel and at the same time a micro structure knowing every company, every segment where Israel is ready to export.
Covid-19. How did Israeli exports meet the challenges of the pandemic? What was the situation in March 2020 during the start of the quarantine and what is the situation now, when the second wave and lockdown have come?
Israel Export Institute worked close with China and had a three-month gap to understand what is going to happen. Right when the pandemic started in China the Institute presented the strategy called “Business Continuity” strategy, which formed hot lines to distribute information necessary for business community in the situation of chaos and uncertainty.
First of all, we tried to create clarity in order to give proper information how to reach clients, reach ecosystems even when there are shut-downs or lock-downs. Second part was that all trade shows completely stopped, you were unable to meet potential clients. We were the first to define digital transformation process in order to create the common platform where you could have trade shows, conferences, b2b meetings in one place. We planned 10 major digital conferences and trade shows for 2020 to meet the main objective – to keep the momentum of business connections in the situation when people can’t meet each other. This program worked quite well.
2020 is a challenging year. First, global economy is decreasing (shrinking). It is estimated that the global economy will decrease by 5,5%. That means that the global trading will decrease by about 10,5%. It’s almost similar to the subprime crisis in the USA, when decline of the global trading had a negative impact on the global economy.
There is a pure correlation between the growth of the export in Israel and the growth of global trading. And as the global trading is going to be decreased by 10.5%, the proactive marketing activities should be increased to find out new economies, new regions, new platforms, new ecosystems, new services and products in order to try to overcome the deficit of the global situation. We have estimated that the Israeli export in 2020 will decrease by nearly 10% due to Covid.
At the same time, we’ve seen that some sectors have exponential increase in demand for Israeli innovations, even in some activities, where there was a complete halt: some fields of medical devices, digital health and other Israeli innovations have grown. There is a huge demand increase in agrotechnologies, as there is an increase of demand for products and food.
We see the transformation of different economies. We have to be self-sustained to support the needs and demands of our inhabitants in the global lockdown. We need to advance our agricultural and healthcare systems. We should focus on new demands, on new era, on new times which Covid-19 created and adapt ourselves very fast.
Which main global economic changes and challenges do you forecast and examine?
Covid will not disappear. We have to learn to live beside different viruses, like we learnt to live with the flu and other viruses.
In 2021 there will be geographical differentiation. We should also remember that there is a trade war between China and the US, which has an impact on the global activities.
At the same time, for Israel, “Abraham Accords” is an amazing opportunity that opens new doors, new channels of communication, new markets. Sudan is coming up. Hopefully, Egypt and Jordan will co-peace with them, realizing that Israel is not an enemy. We can build a new peace economy for the region, cooperating in the education, health care, agriculture.
Please, share with our audience a short overview about Israeli export in cyber security.
Israel has become one of the leading innovation hubs of the world when it comes to the cyber space. Now we live in a flat world without boarders where you are attacked every second. There is a world war in a cyber space. Banks are being attacked every day, digital crimes in financial market are exponentially growing. Damages are about 2 trillion US dollars and they are going to increase up to 5 trillion US dollars.
In Israeli ecosystem there are about 570 mature companies in the field of cybersecurity – penetration testing, detection, protection, IT systems, called “war rooms”, situation management for cyberattacks.
We share personal data, everything is on Cloud. If you have an access to it, you must be aware that someone else has an access to it. That’s why we should control, monitor all potential attacks and educate decision-makers that any cyber interference is a real threat. We live in a digital space, that is our reality, which we should protect.
What do you think about further Israeli-Ukrainian cooperation?
Both countries have a lot to offer to each other. We have more similarities than differences, especially in younger generation. Bilateral trade between Israel and Ukraine is clearly important. We have an interest, a passion and a heart for this work and are ready to combine our efforts with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Israel-Ukraine to continue building proper bridges between our countries.
Our lesson from Covid-19 is to join efforts. We have to share information, knowhows and ideas to expedite the solutions. And yes, we are in position to collaborate, to join our efforts to create better environment for younger generation.