LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder will lead a delegation of state officials and business leaders on a nine-day investment mission to Israel to increase bilateral trade and investments, academic cooperation and strengthen Michigan’s relationship with the state of Israel.
“Michigan’s longstanding ties with Israeli companies and academic institutions have created excellent opportunities to improve trade, increase business investment and scientific research. We look to forward to building on these highly productive relationships,” Snyder said. “We will be delivering the message that Michigan is more business-friendly than ever and the best state in the North American market in which to compete and grow.”
After four missions to Asia, Europe and Canada, this will be Snyder’s first as governor to the Middle East. He and the delegation will travel to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Nazareth, Haifa and the Galilee region to meet with government leaders, business executives and university officials. The governor will also participate in the Israeli President’s Conference, “Facing Tomorrow 2013,” including a celebration of Israel President Shimon Peres’ 90th birthday.
As the only country with free trade agreements with both the United States and the European community, Israel can act as a bridge for international trade between the United States and Europe.
Business leaders and economists estimate large potential growth opportunities for Michigan in Israel:
- Michigan companies exported nearly $117 million in goods and materials to Israel in 2012, making Michigan the 19th state in the U.S. for exports to Israel.
- Transportation equipment was the largest export item, at nearly $70 million in 2012, followed by machinery, chemicals and food manufactures.
- Michigan ranks 15th among states for imports from Israel.
- The U.S. is Israel’s largest single country trade partner. Since signing a Free Trade Agreement in 1985, Israel–US trade has grown more than nine-fold. Since 1995 nearly all trade tariffs between the U.S. and Israel have been eliminated.
The Israel mission is being conducted at the invitation of the Israeli government and hosted by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. The Michigan Israel Business Bridge facilitated the meetings with company executives.
The Israel mission is Snyder’s fifth since taking office. He opened the Michigan Trade Center and met with business leaders in Toronto and met with Canadian government officials in Ottawa in November 2012. He led a 10-day trade mission to China in September 2012, a seven-day mission to Italy and Germany in March 2012 and an eight-day trade mission to Japan, China and Korea in September 2011.