Feeling US pressure, Israel agrees to keep tabs on Chinese investment

Israel agrees to set up an oversight panel to keep tabs on foreign investment in the country’s infrastructure.

By World Israel News Staff and Associated Press

Israel, facing U.S. concerns over its growing ties with China, has decided to form a committee to review the “national security aspects” of foreign investments.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Security Cabinet approved the new oversight body Wednesday. The panel, led by the Finance Ministry, is to include a number of security agencies.

It will act as a kind of advisory committee regarding foreign investments in general, reports Yediot Ahronot.

“The processes that were agreed upon will find the appropriate balance between the need to encourage foreign investments in Israel and ensure continued economic prosperity and considerations of national security,” a statement said.

The statement did not mention China, but the U.S. has repeatedly raised concerns with Israel about technology transfers and potential espionage by Beijing.

China is a major market for Israeli tech companies and has invested in Israeli companies and infrastructure projects. Its investments have increased in recent years, including in a light-rail in Tel Aviv and Israel’s ports, something that particularly worries the U.S. as its Navy ships frequently dock in Israel.

“The U.S. has exerted pressure on Israel to set up an oversight apparatus in light of the trade war between it and China and recent claims that China works to spy by means of technology companies like cellular company Huawei – which the U.S. has imposed sanctions on claiming it threatens the security of Israel,” Yediot reports.

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With the panel’s establishment, Israel joins other countries, such as the U.S., Canada, Britain, Germany and Australia, that have set up processes to oversee foreign investment for reasons of security.