Arizona to set up new Israel trade office

Photo: Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo courtesy Facebook

Following the passage of the Arizona state budget that includes funding for the establishment of an Arizona trade office in Israel, the Arizona Israel Technology Alliance (AITA) and the Arizona Technology Council (AZTC) celebrated the move. AITA and AZTC have been instrumental in strengthening ties between Israel and Arizona, and have worked tirelessly to ensure the trade office became a reality. The new office will be overseen by the Arizona Commerce Authority, the state’s lead economic development agency, and AITA and AZTC looks forward to collaborating with them.

“Our goal has always been to promote trade and investment between Arizona and Israel, and establishing a trade office is a huge leap forward in that collaborative process,” said Leib Bolel, president and CEO of the AITA, and venture partner at Grayhawk Capital. “We applaud Gov. Ducey and the state Legislature for recognizing the potential of trade relations between these two innovative powerhouses, which will reap economic benefits for years to come.”

Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council, shares Bolel’s vision of increasing bilateral trade. He also serves on AITA’s advisory board.

“The Arizona Technology Council fully supports the new trade office in Israel,” said Zylstra. “Our partnership with AITA and the Arizona Commerce Authority has helped both Arizona and Israel solidify their global presence in the technology community. The passing of this legislation represents another step forward in establishing Arizona and Israel as influential leaders in innovation.”

Since AITA’s inception, the number of Israeli companies with operations in Arizona has increased from 12 to 18. This increase doubled the workforce of local, Israeli-owned companies and led to numerous trade delegations between the two areas. To date, AITA has supported more than 100 Israeli companies seeking to increase ties with Arizona.

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).

AITA also created an advisory board in late 2018 to increase business and bilateral trade through B2B initiatives, business attraction and investment. AITA, which was established in October 2017, has been instrumental in helping Israeli industry leaders like Airobotics, Eviation and IMNA Solutions open their U.S. headquarters in Arizona.

“To see Arizona create a trade office in Israel aligns with the efforts and successes of the Arizona Israel Technology Alliance,” said Eitan Weiss, consul general of Israel, Los Angeles. “I would like to thank Gov. Ducey for his vision and leadership, the Arizona legislature and the head of the legislative international committee, state representative Tony Rivero. I look forward to the ever-strengthening relations.”

The relationship between Arizona and Israel benefits both parties because both areas align in key industries, including autonomous vehicles, digital health, aerospace and cybersecurity. AITA is embracing similarities to help propel both Arizona and Israel forward in the global trade economy.

The legislation that created the trade office was spearheaded by Arizona Rep. Tony Rivero and supported by a variety of public and private sector leaders. Rep. Rivero advocated to include funding in Arizona’s budget for the Israeli office, as well as for expanding Arizona’s trade presence in Mexico.

“Israel’s new trade office is a major victory for Arizona,” said Rivero. “This development not only helps reinforce Arizona’s reputation as a business-friendly state, but it also provides Arizona and Israeli companies with an additional avenue to succeed in the global marketplace.”

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