|Khush Choksy (left), speaks with U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro during the Chamber-led business mission to Israel.|
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce led a business delegation to Israel to connect U.S. companies with Israeli business and government leaders for discussions on advancing the bilateral economic relationship on June 15-16. Headed by the Chamber’s Vice President for Turkey and Middle East Affairs Khush Choksy, the delegation coincided with the annual U.S.-Israel Joint Economic Development Group (JEDG) meetings led by Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin.
“The Chamber is committed to strengthening the U.S.-Israel commercial relationship, and we proposed the creation of a U.S.-Israel Strategic Economic Dialogue to provide an opportunity for our governments and private sectors to discuss shared opportunities and challenges,” Choksy said. “This trip proved the merits of such a model by bringing a high-level group of business executives to Israel to provide input to the annual government-to-government economic dialogue.”
The delegation met with top Israeli government officials and key ministers in the inner-circle of Israeli leadership, including Harel Locker, Director General of the Office of the Prime Minister and Silvan Shalom, Minister of Energy, Water Resources, and Infrastructure.
As part of the delegation, the Chamber organized a one-day policy with leading members of the Israeli private sector and U.S. government to provide input into the JEDG talks. Among those who participated were Dan Shapiro, U.S. Ambassador to Israel; Charles Rivkin, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs; Uriel Lynn, President of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce; Avi Hasson, Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Economy; Neil Corney, Managing Director, Citi Country Officer for Israel; and Eitan Yudilevich, Executive Director, BIRD Foundation.
On the occasion of the Chamber’s mission and JEDG meetings, Ambassador Shapiro published an op-ed praising the private sector and government delegations to Israel and calling for additional trade and investment between our two economies. The op-ed can be found here (in Hebrew).
The delegation also participated in the annual Israel America Chamber of Commerce Gala Dinner, which was attended by more than 500 leading Israeli business people. Khush Choksy addressed the audience, which included Ahmet Bozer, COO of The Coca-Cola Company, Minister of Interior Gideon Saar, Ofra Strauss, Chair of the AmCham, and U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro. See here for more information on the AmCham Gala Dinner event.
At the conclusion of the two-day trip, the Chamber submitted ten recommendations for improving the commercial relationship between the United States and Israel and identifying opportunities in new economic sectors. Those recommendations include establishing a bilateral strategic economic dialogue, updating the U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement, promoting support for energy development, and including Israel in the visa waiver program. The delegation also proposed recommendations related to cybersecurity, research and development, intellectual property, and infrastructure procurement, among others. The U.S.-Israel Business Initiative’s full recommendations are available here.
The JEDG is the pre-eminent government-to-government economic dialogue between the U.S. and Israel. This year’s JEDG attracted significant participation from both the U.S. and Israeli governments, including a concluding session with both U.S. Secretary of Treasury Jacob J. Lew and Israeli Minister of Finance Yair Lapid. The U.S. Embassy’s press release can be found here, and a transcript of Secretary Lew’s speech can be found here.
International trade and investment is a key component of the Chamber’s 2014 American Jobs, Growth, and Opportunity Agenda, an ambitious plan to generate stronger economic growth, create jobs, and expand opportunity for all Americans.