The US Chamber of Commerce’s US-Israel Business Initiative led its inaugural
trade mission to Israel this week, bringing executives from top American
life-sciences companies to explore potential partnerships.
comes two months after the government requested responses from international
corporations on a new program to encourage research and development in Israel’s
life-sciences industry. The program aims to attract foreign companies to
establish R&D centers here and to invest in long-term projects.
companies need to be in Israel,” Myron Brilliant, the US Chamber of Commerce’s
senior vice president for international affairs and delegation leader, told The
Jerusalem Post during a break from the program in Tel Aviv on
“Life sciences is not well represented here in comparison to
traditional technologies such as what Intel or Microsoft represent,” he said.
“[However], in recent years there has been an increased effort to develop the
industry in Israel, which we have learned about over the past two days of
meetings with government and private-sector officials.”
Boston Scientific, General Electric, Medimmune, Merck, Oracle and Takeda
Pharmaceuticals USA were all represented in the delegation.
was only a three-day visit, it included meetings with Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry
Chief Scientist Avi Hasson and private-sector representatives.
and other officials demonstrated to delegates how seriously they take the
life-sciences industry, Brilliant said. But the 1985 Free Trade Agreement must
be updated, he said, and Israel must institute regulatory reforms in the areas
of intellectual property and taxation to encourage more American companies to
establish centers here.
The US Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest
business federation, representing the interests of more than 3 million
businesses of all sizes, as well as state and local chambers and industry
It launched its USIBI program in 2010, making Israel one
about 20 countries of focus.
Most American multinationals are aware that
Israel has an entrepreneurial culture and a highly educated workforce, Brilliant
said, “but they don’t necessarily understand how to do business here, where the
specific opportunities are and what kinds of incentives the Israeli government
will provide them.”
“What we want companies to recognize – even beyond
the multinationals that are part of our program – is that through partnering
with start-ups in Israel, even those in the early stages of development, you can
produce great products that will be sold around the world,” he
“America brings scale, America brings marketing expertise, know-how
and avenues for distribution,” Brilliant said.
“By working together with
Israeli companies, we can create the new Googles, the new Facebooks and the new
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