Just after welcoming a potential 100 jobs at an Israeli company’s new headquarters, Gov. Martin O’Malley on Monday announced a trade mission to Israel and possibly Jordan in November.
O’Malley (D) and a delegation of more than 40 business, elected, civic and university leaders are scheduled to leave in late November for the eight-day mission.
A leading force behind the trip, Barry Bogage, CEO of the Maryland Israel Development Center in Baltimore, indicated a Nov. 24 departure date, but Karen Glen Hood, a spokeswoman for the Department of Business and Economic Development, said the dates still are being finalized.
Although most of the trip will focus on Israel, there has been discussion of a stopover in Jordan so O’Malley can discuss business opportunities with King Abdullah II. The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce in Rockville is having a briefing on the mission to both nations from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Hood said the Jordan component still is up in the air.
The trip continues the state’s push to develop international trade: O’Malley led two trade missions to Asia last year, which yielded $145 million in trade and investment deals for Maryland and participating companies, according to state information.
During the November trip, O’Malley is scheduled to speak at the Eilat-Eliot Renewable Energy and Innovation Conference alongside Israel’s chief scientist, Avi Hasson. He will then head to Tel Aviv to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and host a breakfast reception for high-tech Israeli entrepreneurs.
This will be O’Malley’s second trade mission to Israel since 2008.
“Israel has been called ‘The Startup Nation’ and continues to excel in innovation,” Abba David Poliakoff, chairman of the Maryland Israel Development Center, said in a statement.
The nonprofit center has promoted trade and investment between Maryland and Israel companies since then-Gov. William Donald Schaefer established it 20 years ago.
Elta to bring 100 jobs
The decision by Elta to locate its North America’s headquarters in Fulton is a direct result of his center’s support, Bogage said. Elta is part of Elta Systems, the world’s fourth-largest radar company and a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, according to state information. The company plans to create 100 new engineering jobs in Maryland.
Bogage said the Elta deal was two years in the making, from “soup to nuts.”
Israel was Maryland’s 47th-largest trading partner last year, with $48.8 million in product exports to Israel, mostly chemicals, transportation equipment and computer, electronic and electric products. About 20 Israeli companies are located in Maryland, although none will have representatives on the trade mission, Bogage said. These include Teva BioPharmaceuticals, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and IMI Services.
“These countries think the U.S. is the be all and end all, and we want to tell them that Maryland is the place to be,” Bogage said.
The ripest sectors for Maryland-Israeli opportunities are in health care information technology, medical devices and homeland security technology, he said.
Elta North America is in a 7,500-square-foot property and plans to grow to a full-service office to include electronics manufacturing. The state has approved a $300,000 conditional loan through the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Fund and Howard County is offering a property tax credit.
"Elta’s decision to open in Maryland reflects our commitment to strategic investments that expand opportunities to Maryland's highly trained workforce,” Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) said in a statement. “We hope that these first 100 jobs are just the beginning."
The U.S. Department of Commerce also is providing support to participating companies for the trade mission through its programs and will arrange meetings and help companies identity business opportunities, according to the Montgomery County chamber’s notice.
More details on the dates, trip agenda and delegation list will be disclosed later, according to DBED’s statement.