The State of Arizona will be setting up a trade office in Israel later this year, after lawmakers approved funding for the endeavor earlier this month.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey approved a $275,000 budget for the new office, of which $100,000 is onetime funding. The funds are to be allocated in the fiscal year 2019-2020, which begins in July 1, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry said in a statement.
The trade office follows several initiatives between Israel and Arizona over the last few years.
In 2018, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the US-Israel Business Initiative signed a memorandum of understanding pledging to work together to support ongoing initiatives and activities to strengthen the economic and commercial ties between Arizona and Israel. Under the terms of the MOU, the two organizations agreed to collaborate on water, fintech, technology and startups, and defense and aerospace.
In 2015, during Ducey’s first year in office, he led a delegation to Israel to attend the WATEC water policy and management conference, becoming the first Arizona governor to lead a delegation to Israel.
In 2017, trade between Arizona and Israel — imports and exports — totaled nearly $400 million, and overall Arizona’s trade with Israel more than doubled since 2010. Israel was Arizona’s 9th largest trading partner, the statement said.
Exports from Arizona totaled $280 million – including transportation equipment ($127.7 million); computer and electronic products ($57.2 million); and chemicals ($28.5 million).
Imports from Israel totaled $119 million, including computers and electronic products ($21.4 million); and machinery ($20.6 million).
A variety of Israel-based companies have operations in Arizona, including Mobileye, a maker of self-driving technologies acquired by Intel Corp. in 2017; Universal Avionics Corp., a unit of defense firm Elbit Systems Ltd.; Keter Group, a maker of plastic-based household and garden products; 3D printer maker Stratasys and business analytics firm Sisense.
The new office will strengthen the already deep ties between Arizona and Israel, said Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry president and CEO Glenn Hamer in the statement.
“This new trade office makes perfect sense,” Hamer said. “During Gov. Ducey’s first term in office, he has made clear Arizona’s support for a strong Arizona-Israeli relationship. From technological innovation, to water stewardship, to defense and aerospace, to GDP’s that are almost of equal size, we have so much in common. Israel is known worldwide as the Startup Nation. Arizona is the Startup State. Arizona and Israel are a great match.”