This paper provides a description of the process of finding resources and information sources for specific topic research. The selected topic is ”Main distribution channels for Israeli products to the Arab and Muslim world”. This topic was a challenge since the issue is one that companies/countries will try not to disclose. Any detailed disclosure might endanger the business and have political consequences. An additional problem was that no specific industry was selected. I have decided to perform a general internet search on the topic and then to select one industry – telecommunication – and get more information through direct contact with people in this industry. A major source for information is the Israeli Export Institute. I have tried to contact it through e-mail and through their forum in IOL but got no response. It is clear to me that significant information and help can be obtained through it once there is a specific need. I got a direct phone reference there but have not used it. The following export channels were identified using the search:
- Direct export to the Palestinian authority
- Export to Jordan and from them to the Gulf States and other Muslim countries.
- Export through Egypt (dependent on the peace process situation)
- Dummy companies in Cyprus, Greece, and Western Europe
- International partners / OEM channels such as Siemens and Alcatel.
- Contacts can be achieved through the Israel Export Institute, The Israel Manufacturers Association, and the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce.
Internet Search. The internet search was done using 2 search tools: Google and Copernic 2001 Pro. I have compared the results of the two search engines in order to determine their efficiency. I have used both the Google search engine in English and the Google search engine in Hebrew. Since the topic closely related to Israel I have assumed that I will find additional results in Hebrew. For each of the Google search engines, I have reviewed the first 50 results. The Copernic search engine is built around categories. It has a general web category that uses several internet search engines like Yahoo. In addition, I have used the following categories: “The Web”, “Sales & Marketing”, “Business & Finance” and “Newspapers”. I have started the internet search with a search string that included the full topic and then refined it and changed it to be more specific. The quality of results was very dependent on the search string. Search String 1 yielded poor results. Search strings 2 & 3 yielded good relevant results. The comparison between Google and Copernic is very clear:
Prices start at $12
Prices start at $11
Prices start at $10
- Copernic yielded no relevant results through its special categories. I assume that part of this is because the topic was unique to Israel and not a US typical one.
- The Web category section yielded at best the same results as Google. In most cases, it was less focused (i.e. much more un-relevant results).
- The Google Hebrew tool is a great advantage that no other search engine provides.
- Google has returned results much faster
Internet Search Results. Search String 1. “Main distribution channels for Israel products to Arab and Muslim world” Google results
- Export to the Palestinian – http://www.paltrade.org/Country/profile3.html . The Palestinian trade center – PALTRADE – provides detailed information on the export to the Palestinian autonomy updated to 1998. 70% of Palestinian import was from Israel totaling ~$1.9 Billion.
- Canadian export possibilities in Africa and the Middle-east – http://atn-riae.agr.ca/info/africa-e.htm .
The Market Industry Services Branch of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has contracted Canadian Business Development International (CBDI) to provide an overview of the export opportunities and general guidelines for Canadian exporters of agriculture and agri-food products in Africa and in the Middle East.
- US Country Commercial Guide (1996) – http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/ERC/economics/commercial_guides/ .
This site provides similar information to the Canadian site. Copernic Results. Only “The Web” category produced results, most of them already found using Google. Search String 2. “Overcome Export Israel Arab Boycott”.Google Results
- “Last days of the Boycott” – http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0ai50.
The article is on the site of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is an article that directly relates to the question and provides answers: “Israel contended with the boycott in exports as well. The policy of open bridges across the Jordan River enabled local industry and agriculture to export its products to Jordan, and from there to the Gulf states and occasionally even to other Muslim countries. Peace with Egypt opened an additional channel to Arab states for the Israeli economy, mainly to the Gulf emirates. Dummy companies in Cyprus, Greece, and Western Europe enabled the local industry to export pharmaceuticals, irrigation equipment, electronics, chemicals, seeds, and other products to Arab countries, even the most hostile to Israel among them.”
- An additional search in the MFA site yielded the following articles: Attempting to Break to the Gulf – http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0aiw0
“MARKETING IN THE MIDDLE EAST: THE POLITICAL STALEMATE IS RETURNING ISRAELI COMPANIES INTERESTED IN DEALS WITH GULF COUNTRIES TO THE ERA OF THE BOYCOTT. HOW, IN SPITE OF THIS, DO THEY PENETRATE THESE MARKETS? WHERE IS IT MOST DIFFICULT AND WHO IS WORKING TO TORPEDO THE CONNECTIONS?” This is an excellent article from 1997 that directly provides the required information in detail.
- Israel’s Dreams of Invading Arab Markets Dissipate – http://www.muslims.net/english/economics/2000/1/article5.shtml . This article describes Israel’s export channels to the Arab countries from an Arabic point of view. It provides general information and mentions Cyprus as the main channel and then provides more detailed information by country.
- Saudi Arabia boycotts a company over selling products of Israeli origin to the Arab states – http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020304/2002030416.html .
This site provides 4 real examples of company’s that overcome the Arab boycott. These are real examples of distribution channels to Arab countries that worked. “The Saudi minister of trade Osama Bin Jaafar al-Faqih has issued a decision banning dealing with the Cypriot company “VitaJreika limited” over exporting commodities of Israeli origin to the Arab states.” Copernic Results. Only “The Web” category produced results, most of them already found using Google. Did not found the MFA article. Search String 3 “Arab Israel export market research”. Google Results
- Info-Prod Research (Middle East) Ltd. – http://www.infoprod.co.il/index.htm . Info-Prod publishes reports covering Middle East business and markets, as well as specific industries in the region. The Site provides information regarding their services, reports, publications, clients, and country specifics.
- International Technology & Trade Network (ITTN) – http://www.us.ittn.org/cgi-bin/ittn . ITTN provides the tools for domestic and international business linkages ITTN uses technology-based economic development as a driving force for peace and stability in emerging economies and regions of conflict. Through the site, information is available on the MENA (the Middle East North Africa) states to include Jordan & Egypt. The information includes a profile database, business aids, and guides, bulletins: trade and partnering, general business tolls, and information per country. The site provides description and links on the Israel Export Institute (IEI) and on the Jordan Export Development and Commercial Centers Corporation (JEDCO)
- Going Global – Market Research Reports – http://home3.americanexpress.com/smallbusiness/resources/expanding/global/countries.shtml . This is a site with market research reports per country including all the Middle East, Africa, and Asian countries. It does not deal directly with the question but can serve as a good source when trying to identify possible distribution channels or marketing areas. As an example, the report on Pakistan includes information on the following export issues: Trade overview, Trade agreements, Trade barriers and regulations, Trade finance, Marketing, Distribution, Free trade zones, and Intellectual property protection.
- International Trade Center – http://www.intracen.org/mb/english/ . This is a site that is similar to the previous one. For over ten years now, ITC has been publishing Market Briefs covering products/markets of export interest to developing countries. They differ from other ITC studies in that they are concise information updates, primarily covering market conditions, accessibility, and contacts. The information provided includes Focus on new markets, Partnerships, and capacity building for market research and Methodology Applied to Identify New Markets and Products.
- This search yielded at least 20 additional sites similar to 4 & 5. Copernic Results Only “The Web” category produced results, most of them already found using Google. Search String 4 – Hebrew.
Google Hebrew Results
- Israel Export Institute – http://www.export.gov.il/export/doa_iis.dll/Serve/item/Hebrew/22.214.171.124.html . In this site there were several relevant articles and information sources: äùôòú äñëí äñçø àøä”á – éøãï |àéðãåðæéä, ñ÷éøä ëìëìéú, äòøëú ôåèðöéàì äéöåà åîéãò òñ÷é|àæøáéàï, ñ÷éøä ëìëìéú åôåèðöéàì éöåà
In addition, a whole section is dedicated to the export potential to Arab countries http://www.export.gov.il/export/doa_iis.dll/Serve/item/Hebrew/126.96.36.199.19.html.
Through the site, one can also post relevant questions. The question is directed to the foreign trade forum in IOL. I have posted the relevant question. I have not received relevant answers. Specific Industry Search. I have selected an industry that I am familiar with – Telecommunication. I have tried to see if I can cat-specific information regarding the export of Israel telecom products to Arab and Muslim countries. I have addressed 3 people who are in the position of CEO or VP of marketing / Sales in some Israeli Telecom companies. They all said that their products are being distributed to Arab countries through partners / OEM channels. Examples of such channels are Alcatel and Siemens. They have all mentioned that their products do not carry any name for their company or any mention to where it was manufactured. This is a strict requirement from the partner in order to reduce the limitation of distributing the product.
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