The Jerusalem Post

‘2021 will be the year of Israel-Gulf business ties’

- • Jerusalem Post Staff a meal is very important.” Falcioni concluded: “We are stronger together.”

The year 2021 is the year for Israel-Gulf business relations, said Massimo Falcioni, the CEO of Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), the UAE Federal export credit company.

ECI is mandated to reinforce the country’s economic diversific­ation programs, as well as to support its export and internatio­nal trade and investment activities. It already signed one deal with Israel and Falcioni said it has already identified key sectors for future business.

According to its media releases, “ECI builds a comprehens­ive platform of strategic partnershi­ps across government, insurers, re-insurers, brokers, banks and lenders, regional and internatio­nal Export Credit Agencies, government­s and trade promotion agencies in addition to world organizati­ons for economic developmen­t.”

The sectors in which it hopes to collaborat­e with Israel include agricultur­e, water treatment, renewable energy, healthcare and medical devices.

“We create strong ties across government­s,” Falcioni said. “This is especially important now, post-pandemic.”

In December, ECI signed an agreement with the Israel Foreign Trade Risks Insurance Corporatio­n (ASHR’A) to jointly create a strategic cooperatio­n in supporting exports, trade and investment; explore new business opportunit­ies; and forge collaborat­ions in technical assistance, training, and capacity building in both countries.

“Multiple advantages from this agreement for exporters from both countries can be summarized, starting from cooperatio­n between the export credit companies to ease access to export credit facilities and non-payments risk mitigation, as well as access to both market key sectors like agricultur­e, water treatment, renewable energy, medical and health care, aluminum, steel, cables, petrochemi­cals, technology,” a release said.

Falcioni said that since then and for the time being, ECI has been facilitati­ng business-to-business meetings. He has personally met with several delegation­s from Israel to understand their projects and the agency is now working to put in place what is needed to make those projects happen.

Two specific areas that he hopes to collaborat­e on are renewable energy and easy access to electricit­y.

“There are more than 800 million people in the world without access to electricit­y and we want to bring electricit­y to those areas,” he said. “Israel and the UAE can bring their experience and expertise everywhere in the world, generate employment locally and collaborat­e on big projects that could solve some of these global issues. It is a fantastic win-win.”

He offered advice for those looking to do business in the UAE: “Everything should start from sharing lunch.”

In other words, he said to create confidence in one another before aiming to strike a deal.

“Sometimes we tend to go straight to the point of closing a deal,” Falcioni said. “In the Middle East, it is important to make sure the chemistry is there and for that we need some build up, to get to know each other and

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