Olmert to announce new consulate in Canton

Thursday, January 04, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is set to announce next week during his official visit to China that Israel will be opening a new official representational office in the city of Guangzhou, better known by its colonial name as Canton.

Guangzhou is located in the southeastern part of the country only a few hours from Hong Kong and is currently in the middle of a huge financial boom. The city is known today as the birthplace of the Chinese high-tech industry and has attracted investments to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.

At this stage, it is still unclear what type of representational office Israel will open there. The Foreign Ministry is recommending opening a full consulate general, which will join its sister consulate in Shanghai. The Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor, however, think that it will be wasteful to open such a large office, and are recommending opening a smaller trade representation office.

The Foreign Ministry has said in response that a junior trade attaché will not receive ample cooperation from the authorities, mostly due to the type of government in China. The Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor say that city is a trade center with no political importance whatsoever.

Ultimately, the one who will have to decide about the issue is Prime Minister Olmert who is likely to propose a compromise: a combination of the two. The only problem is the high cost of the office, and a solution for that has not been found yet.

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