China became Israel’s largest source of imports in 2021, surpassing the United States, according to data released by Israel’s National Bureau of Statistics on Thursday.
Last year, Israel imported $10.7 billion in goods from China, compared with $7.7 billion in 2020, a nearly 40-percent increase.
Israel’s imports from the United States, previously its largest import source, totaled $8.2 billion, a slight increase from 2020. The United States remained Israel’s largest export destination.
Israel’s largest trade deficit was also with China, totaling $6.6 billion.
The new data comes shortly after Israel vowed to keep the Biden administration in the loop on any major trade deals with China, in an effort to avoid further tensions. According to a Haaretz report, the United States has not made explicit demands, but Israeli officials have begun discussing the state’s policy toward China.
Both the Biden and the Trump administrations have expressed concerns about the warming relationship between Israel and China as the latter’s ties with Europe and the United States have soured.
The data also comes as Israel and China convened a joint committee on innovation on Monday, signing a three-year plan to regulate cooperation and government-to-government dialogue through 2024. That was part of events marking 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the countries.