(Bloomberg) -- Israeli businesses are seeking to increase imports from Turkey because maritime shipping costs are making supplies from China expensive. 

Given a choice between imports from the two countries “Of course, Turkey” made more sense, said Uriel Lynn, the president of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce during a trade delegation visit to Istanbul.

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“Shipping costs have doubled in the last five years,” Lynn told a news conference Tuesday through an interpreter. 

Lynn is part of the largest Israeli trade delegation to travel to Turkey in a quarter century as the Middle East nations mend ties. Israeli businesses have been meeting Turkish exporters during the trip that started Monday. 

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Israel mainly imports steel and iron from Turkey along with construction materials. Turkey’s broad manufacturing network and the slide of lira against the dollar enables exporters to offer competitive prices. 

“We want to import from Turkey more than others,” Irit Lilian, Israel’s ambassador to Turkey, said in Istanbul. “We are here for a new era of buying from Turkey,” 

Representatives from 57 Israeli companies were scheduled to hold talks with about 400 Turkish companies from sectors ranging from food to construction and metals. 

Turkey’s exports to Israel increased 35% to $6.4 billion last year while imports from Israel was around $2 billion in the same period, according to official Turkish government data. Recent trade figures, however, do not reflect the true potential of bilateral trade which ‘will increase in time,” the ambassador said.

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