January 4, 2018 / 2:32 PM / 10 months ago

Israel to invest over $300 million to boost manufacturing sector

FILE PHOTO: An assembly line of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is seen at the offices of state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the country's biggest defence contractor, next to Ben Gurion International airport, near Or Yehuda, Israel February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel’s Finance Ministry said on Thursday it plans to spend 1.15 billion shekels ($333 million) in the coming years to increase the competitiveness of the country’s industrial sector.

The proposal will be submitted to the cabinet for approval in the coming days to be part of the 2019 state budget framework.

Israel’s manufacturing industry accounts for 10 percent of the country’s jobs and half its exports. Industrial output has averaged 1.7 percent growth the past three years, lagging overall economic growth of 3.2 percent on average.

A public committee headed by the ministry’s director general, Shai Babad, recommended allocating 675 million shekels towards research and development and technological innovation, 365 million shekels to increasing skilled manpower and 110 million shekels to removing regulatory barriers.

“The plan ... will help provide the tools for traditional industry to improve human capital and productivity while adopting new technologies,” Babad said.

Israel is ranked 53rd out of 189 countries in the ease of doing business, down from 27 in 2007.

Reporting by Steven Scheer

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