The U.S.-Israel Business Initiative is a program in the Middle East department at the United States Chamber of Commerce. The initiative is the first Washington, D.C.-based national effort to advance and strengthen U.S.-Israel commercial relations. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations, in partnership with the Israel America Chamber of Commerce, is the sponsor of this new initiative. Bringing together high-level American and Israeli officials, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators, the mission of this initiative is the following:
- Enhance two-way trade and investment between the United States and Israel through increased business-to-business connectivity.
- Provide access to senior U.S. and Israeli government and business leaders, deliver timely information, and facilitate member input in policy formation.
- Raise awareness among the American business community about the enormous opportunities for investing in and partnering with Israel.
The initiative officially kicked-off with a global summit in Washington, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement, on October 19, 2010. The event brought together leading Israeli innovators and entrepreneurs, high-ranking American and Israeli government officials, and top American companies.
The U.S.-Israel Business Opportunity
Over the last few decades, commerce has been one of the cornerstones of the U.S.-Israel relationship. And since the signing of the U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement in 1985—the United States’ first—bilateral trade has grown nearly tenfold.
With more entrepreneurial start-ups per capita than any other nation, Israel leads the world in patents per capita, has more companies listed on NASDAQ than any other country except for the United States, and attracts as much venture capital as the United Kingdom, France, and Germany combined.
This innovative culture has been good for American business. More than 110 foreign companies have established R&D centers in Israel, producing breakthrough technologies and innovation in a variety of sectors, including defense, homeland security, renewable energy, health care, and information communications technology.
Today, Israel is one of the United States’ top trading partners, importing approximately $15 billion per year in American-produced goods and services and exporting $25 billion in goods and services to the United States, including two-thirds of America’s manufacturing imports from the Middle East. In 2009, Israel was the United States’ 22nd largest export market ahead of Russia, Ireland, Spain, and Argentina.