Chamber CEO Hamer: “Arizona and Israel are a great match.”
PHOENIX (May 27, 2019) – The Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry is cheering the passage of a new state budget that includes funding for the establishment of an Arizona trade office in Israel.
The new office will strengthen the already deep ties between Arizona and Israel, according to Arizona Chamber President and CEO Glenn Hamer.
“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 GDPs 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.”
The trade office builds on several initiatives that have taken place between Israel and Arizona over the last few years.
In 2015, during Gov. Ducey’s first year in office, the governor addressed the prestigious WATEC Conference at the invitation of Israeli Minister of the Economy Aryeh Deri. WATEC attracts leaders in water policy and management from all over the world.
As part of the WATEC trip, Gov. Ducey became the first Arizona governor to lead a delegation to Israel, a trip that included meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former president and prime minister Shimon Peres, the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
“I was extremely privileged to have been a part of that delegation,” Hamer said. “Arizona couldn’t ask for a better ambassador than Gov. Ducey, who shared his insight on issues we share in common, offered our commitment to further collaboration, reiterated Arizona’s support for Israel, spoke strongly against the BDS movement and made clear that Arizona would lead efforts to fight it.”
In 2016, former state House Speaker David Gowan championed the passage of legislation—signed into law by Gov. Ducey—that would bar state-funded contractors from participating in the Boycott, Divest, Sanction, or BDS, movement against Israel. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has defended the law, which was amended earlier this year by the Legislature thanks to the leadership of state Sen. Paul Boyer and signed again by the governor.
In 2017, Hamer participated in a visit to Israel by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-Israel Business Initiative.
In 2018, the Chamber and the U.S.-Israel Business Initiative signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) 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.
Also, in 2018, the Arizona and U.S. Chambers hosted the Business H20 Water Innovation Summit in Phoenix. Gov. Ducey keynoted the event, which featured speakers from the Israeli public and private sectors with expertise in water management.
The new office will be overseen by the Arizona Commerce Authority, the state’s lead economic development agency.
“I know that the top-notch professionals at the ACA, who have attracted increased investment in Arizona by Israeli companies, will do an outstanding job strengthening Arizona’s ties in Israel,” Hamer said.
State Rep. Tony Rivero championed the inclusion of the funding in the budget for the Israeli office, as well as an expanded Arizona trade office presence in Mexico.
The Chamber in 2014 supported the reestablishment of a trade office in Mexico City as part of an effort led by former state House Speaker Andy Tobin.
“State Rep. Tony Rivero has been a leader in raising Arizona’s international trade profile,” Hamer said. “The state’s job creators appreciate his commitment to growing the Arizona brand around the world.”
The U.S., Mexico, and Israel trilateral relationship was on display last year when Israel Ambassador to Mexico Jonathan Peled spoke at the Arizona Mexico Commission summit in Tucson, where he discussed among other topics the collaboration between the University of Arizona, Ben Gurion University in Israel and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Arizona State University also maintains strong working relationships in Mexico and Israel.
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