US, Israel set up program to forge closer economic ties

Three-year Business Israel program aims to bring US executives to Israel to boost investment, collaboration

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

The Statue of Liberty. (photo credit: Ilan Ben Zion/Times of Israel staff)
The Statue of Liberty. (photo credit: Ilan Ben Zion/Times of Israel staff)

The US and Israeli chambers of commerce have started a new, multi-year initiative to bring executives from leading business organizations from the US to Israel.

Called Business Israel, the program has been set up by the US Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with its Israel affiliate the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce (AmCham Israel).

“By bringing American state and local chamber executives to Israel, we can encourage international collaboration and boost economic growth in our cities, states, and country,” said Myron Brilliant, executive vice president and head of International Affairs for the US Chamber of commerce at the launch of the program, as he headed a delegation of 17 CEOs and presidents from state and major metropolitan chambers of commerce from across the US to Israel.

Business Israel will bring executives from all 50 states to Israel over the next three years to expand markets for American exports and attract investment to the US, as well as collaborate with Israeli companies in sectors such as water and agriculture, cybersecurity, and health, the organizers said in a joint statement.

“This multi-year program is an asset to American-Israeli economic relations, as it will enable the American chambers to see, firsthand, what Israel has to offer,” said Ofra Strauss, chairperson of the board, Strauss Group and the AmCham Israel. “The strategic alliance between the United States and Israel is based on our shared values and goals, and I strongly believe that our bilateral commerce will surely guarantee further success.”

America and Israel have strong economic ties, even if the Jewish nation has been in recent years looking to Asia to boost growth. Israel and the US signed their first free trade agreement in 1985 and there are more companies listed on the NASDAQ exchange from Israel than from any country outside the US.

Forty percent of all investment into the US from the Middle East region comes from Israel, and Israel is the second largest importer of US goods in its region, despite representing only two percent of the population, according to data provided by the chambers of commerce.

The US Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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