O’Malley embarks on trade mission to Israel, Jordan -- Gazette.Net







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Gov. Martin O’Malley is spending time in Israel and Jordan this week as part of a eight-day trade mission to strengthen business relations between those countries and Maryland.

O’Malley (D) plans to pitch the state as an ideal spot for Israeli businesses — particularly those in the life science, cybersecurity, information technology, aerospace and defense fields — to establish a U.S. presence.

“As our economy strengthens, we know we must look beyond our borders for new avenues for trade and investment, particularly those countries — like Israel — that have invested heavily in supporting entrepreneurs and growing an Innovation Economy,” O’Malley said in a statement.

In 2012, Israel was the state’s 43rd-largest trading partner, with $51.1 million in product exports. About 20 Israeli companies maintain offices in Maryland, according to the administration.

O’Malley previously visited Israel in 2008 and once while he was mayor of Baltimore. The governor’s previous trade missions include a trip to China, South Korea and Vietnam and a trip to India, both in 2011, which resulted in a combined $145 million in trade and investment deals for the state and the companies that accompanied him, according to the administration.

O’Malley arrived Sunday in Jerusalem, and his first visit to Jordan was expected to include a dinner reception with business and government leaders Monday in Amman. The governor is then expected to return to Israel, where his scheduled activities for the remainder of the week include visits to the Tel Aviv stock exchange, touring Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and meeting with President Shimon Peres.

The delegation accompanying O’Malley includes Wallace D. Loh, president of the University of Maryland, College Park, and Jay Perman, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

“As Maryland’s flagship research university, we are poised to extend our existing ties with Israel’s premier academic institutions, which are innovative-entreprenurial powerhouses,” Loh said in a statement.

The trade mission is scheduled to conclude April 28.