TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Two top universities from Israel and China are launching a $300 million research project focused on nanotechnologies.

The agreement is the latest move in booming ties between the two countries, as the Asian giant seeks Israeli technologies and the Jewish state vies for access to the Chinese market.

Tel Aviv University and Beijing's Tsinghua University said they will exchange graduate students and faculty members who will work at a joint research center.

Officials from both sides said at a news conference Monday that the cooperation will initially focus on nanotechnologies but may be expanded to other areas, including raw materials, water treatment and environmental issues.