Arizona Governor Visits Israel to Boost Trade and Business Relations

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Arizona Governor Doug Ducey is set to conclude his five-day visit to Israel this week to strengthen economic ties between the Jewish state and the state of Arizona.

Ducey is on his third trip to Israel since taking office in 2015. He was the first Arizona governor to visit when he led an eight-day official trade mission during his first year as as governor. Arizona was also the first US state to open a trade and investment mission to Israel in November 2019, an office he visited on his second trip to Israel a month later.

Accompanied by heads of the Arizona Commerce Authority and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ducey arrived in Israel Sunday morning to meet with political and business leaders.

Over the past four days, Ducey has met with President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion and Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum and Ambassador American in Israel Thomas Nides.

He also met with business leaders and tech entrepreneurs, and visited a major desalination plant to strengthen business and trade relations with Israel.

“We gleaned some good ideas on border security and water technology,” Ducey told The Times of Israel on Tuesday. The Republican governor’s current mission to Israel focuses on bilateral trade, water and border security, his office said.

Ducey has worked during his seven years in office to strengthen economic ties with Israel, which has a similar arid climate and water and security issues.

“With our common industries, climates, populations and values, Arizona and Israel are strong and strategic partners,” Ducey wrote on Twitter after meeting with Israeli business leaders on Wednesday.

Ducey also praised Israel as a water “superpower”.

With around 60% of its land desert, Israel has pushed to create technologies to make every drop of water count. Today, most of its drinking water comes from desalination plants and it is considered a world leader in all aspects of water technology and management.

The country is home to around 180 startups that operate in the fields of water and wastewater treatment, irrigation, water supply systems, water network management, desalination technologies and water quality detection, according to the research database maintained by Start-Up Nation Central, which tracks the tech industry.

During his trip, Ducey and his delegation visited a water desalination plant at Kibbutz Palmachim by IDE Technologies, a water company that also operates a number of other such facilities in Israel.

“Innovations like these are part of the solution to securing the future of our water. In the January State of the State, we said desalination made Israel the global superpower – and it’s clear here,” Ducey wrote on Twitter after that visit on Tuesday.

Ducey touted Israel’s water desalination technology as a way to boost supplies to Arizona, which is threatened by long-term drought and climate change. He wants the state legislature to approve a $1 billion investment to boost the state’s water supply this year. Key to this plan is a desalination plant that could cost more than five times that amount.

Ducey provided no details on plans for the plant, which would likely be located in Mexico and draw water from the Gulf of California.

Ducey said Israel and Arizona also have a “strong foundation of cooperation and opportunity” in areas such as aerospace and agricultural technology.

Ducey said Arizona could also serve as a US or global headquarters for Israeli companies looking to set up shop in the United States, touting lower taxes and fewer regulations.

Israeli companies have generally opted for offices in California, which now has 32 Israeli-founded unicorns (private companies valued at $1 billion or more), according to the latest report from the United States-Israel Business Alliance (USIBA). and New York, with 26 unicorns founded by Israel.

A number of Israeli companies also operate in Arizona, including US-Israeli 3D printer maker Stratasys and IMNA Solutions, a digital health startup that has developed patient management software.

On Wednesday, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Israel Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce to strengthen economic and trade relations, which Ducer said would be “ideal for the Arizona economy”.

Two-way trade between Arizona and Israel was worth more than $660 million in 2021, according to the Arizona Commerce Authority.

During his trip, Ducey also made a Memorial Day visit to the Israeli 9/11 Memorial in Jerusalem, visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and some historic sites, and saw some of the latest excavations at the City of David. .

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