Republican Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced the opening of the state's first trade and investment office in Israel on Thursday, located in central Tel Aviv.
Established with a $250,000 budget, the new business hub will be operated by the Arizona Commerce Authority, the economic development organized tasked with growing the southwestern state's economy.
The office, located at Tel Aviv's Alon Tower, will serve as a platform to increase international trade and foreign direct investment opportunities for both countries.
"The opening of Arizona's trade office in Tel Aviv, Israel promises to further advance the strong relationship between our states," said Governor Ducey, who announced plans for the office in June following the approval of the 2020 budget by Arizona State Legislature.
“We look forward to increased collaboration in our shared areas of strength — technology and innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship and more.”
Bilateral trade between Arizona and Israel exceeded $460 million in 2018, more than doubling commerce levels since 2010. Some 20 Israeli-owned businesses currently operate in Arizona, in industries ranging from aerospace to financial services.
In May 2018, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and the US Chamber of Commerce’s US-Israel Business Initiative signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to strengthen economic and commercial ties between Arizona and Israel. Four sectors of collaboration targeted under the memorandum are in the fields of water, fintech, technology and start-ups, and defense and aerospace.
"Under Governor Ducey’s leadership, Arizona continues to increase our global competitiveness and build strategic cross-border relationships," said Arizona Commerce Authority President & CEO Sandra Watson.
"Israel is key among those relationships and we’re thrilled to be establishing a physical presence there with the launch of this new trade office. I’d like to thank Governor Ducey for his incredible commitment to growing Arizona’s economy, and Representative Rivero for his leadership in helping establish our Israel office."
Governor Ducey became the first Arizona governor to lead a trade mission to Israel in 2015, where he met local business leaders, government officials and attended the Water Technology and Environment Control symposium. Advancing "forward-thinking water policy and freshwater science innovation" in arid desert landscapes is likely to play a key role in future collaboration between Arizona and Israel.
The new office will be led full-time by experienced Israeli businessman and entrepreneur David Ya’ari, the governor's office said.