One secret to a successful trade policy is to combine competition with cooperation. While most of America's trading partners have vigorously pursued the former, they have frequently eschewed the latter. Israel is different. Not surprisingly, the first free trade agreement the United States ever signed was with Israel.
The Free Trade Agreement
The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed by the United States and Israel in 1985 affords American products the opportunity to compete on an equal basis with European goods, which all have free access to Israel's domestic markets. Since signing the FTA, U.S. exports to Israel have increased nearly 60 percent, while the overall volume of trade between the two countries has risen 68 percent, to nearly $8 billion. Israel is now second only to Canada in terms of per-capita imports of U.S. products.
Encouraging American Investment
In 1992, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) created an Israeli growth fund to assist American companies in investing in Israel. OPIC also arranged a mission to provide American companies with an opportunity to learn more about the investment opportunities in Israel. A year later, OPIC brought representatives of Israeli companies to the United States.