Filipino and Israeli businessmen aim to triple bilateral trade amid glowing partnership prospects.

During a business forum on Monday, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) President Miguel B. Varela said two-way trade between the Philippines and Israel amounted to the maximum amount $250 million as of last year.

“These numbers will grow in an unprecedented pace within the next few years,” Varela said, citing growing interest from each side to spice up the trade and investment relations.

The Philippines was among the primary countries that voted for the institution of the state of Israel.

“We came here as a friend of the Philippines. We would prefer to succeed and collaborate with you,” said Ran Cohen, a former Israeli tourism and trade minister and current Israel-Asia Chamber of Commerce president.

Filipino businessmen invited their Israeli peers to invest in the Philippines’s business enterprise, mining and agriculture sectors.

In a presentation, Alphaland Development Inc. President Mario A. Oreta aforementioned Israeli arms traders ought to “not be disheartened” when a contract eyed last year with the Philippine National Police (PNP) fell through.

Taiwan-based Israeli trade attaché Doron Hemo admitted that Israel “did not focus” on the Philippines before, as shown by the absence of a permanent industrial attaché from Israel.

But with the Philippines’s rising economy, the 15-man business delegation from Israel is eyeing prospects in machinery, general trade, security and safety, real estate property, customs brokerage, water treatment, agriculture, food production, aviation, business-process outsourcing, remittance, shipping, water technology, tourism, seed technology and diamonds trade.

Eran Keler, chief executive of Israeli diamonds merchant, Yes Diamonds said the marketplace for the gem is growing not solely within the Philippines but throughout the Far East.

Keler said Filipinos are among those that troop to Hong Kong to buy diamonds.

Because Filipinas are trendy, jewellery and gems like diamonds are expected to sell well here, Keler said, adding that he’s searching for a Philippine partner that may distribute the diamonds that the corporation imports from South Africa.

“Diamonds are way more pricey than gold and silver. However I believe that within the Philippines, its market is increasing,” he said.