Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu during a 2017 visit to China. Photo: Haim Zach / GPO via Netanyahu’s Facebook page.

Israel and China have expanded a protocol that helps finance Israeli exports to China by offering $500 million in government guarantees, Israel‘s Finance Ministry said on Monday.

The Israeli government has been encouraging companies traditionally drawn to western markets to focus energy on the huge markets to east, particularly China and India.

Since the first agreement was signed between the Israeli and Chinese governments in 1995, $2.1 billion of deals have been covered in the fields of health, agriculture, renewable energy, education and other sectors. It was last extended in 2010.

The “financial protocol” is an agreement that facilitates faster export deals from Israel to China, the Finance Ministry said. Under it, Israeli banks can receive government guarantees if they finance Chinese importers with long-term credit for buying Israeli equipment.

Accountant General Rony Hizkiyahu said the agreement will “increase the scope of Israeli exports and establish innovative Israeli technologies in the large and developing Chinese market.”