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Israel Bourse Welcomes State Bank of India

Jun 10, 2007 5:37 AM   By Zach Helke
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RAPAPORT... Israel's diamond bourse welcomed its first Indian bank June 8, 2007, when the State Bank of India (SBI) opened a branch in the bourse's Ramat Gan location. 

The branch marks SBI's 84th overseas branch, with locations firmly fixed in the world's other diamond business centers, such as New York, Antwerp and Johannesburg.

"We have thirty years of experience in diamond financing and have offices in all the major centers associated with the trade. Tel Aviv completes the loop," SBI chairman OP Bhatt, told the Press Trust of India.

Bhatt added that the bank will have a head start against others in the growing trade relations between the two countries. Trade has soared between the two nations, reaching $2.7 billion in the past year from humble beginnings at $200 million in 1992 when diplomatic relations were established between the two nations.

"This was a natural event waiting to happen," said India's Ambassador to Israel Arun Singh. "The remarkable growth in bilateral trade between the two countries has led to diversification of trade with significant growth in new sectors."

India's diamond merchants have long had a presence in Israel, many of whom came in the early 1980's, even before official diplomatic ties were established with India. At present, some 30 diamond merchants are active in the Ramat Gan exchange, as well as India's Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) which competes for government contracts and employees many Israeli nationals.

"The opening of a branch by SBI here demonstrates the strength and stability of the Israeli economy. It also shows the important role Israel plays in the diamond trade," Israel Diamond Exchange president Avi Paz said.
Tags: Economy, Government, India, Israel, Israel Diamond Exchange
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