As part of a continuing effort to expand Maryland's global reach and further strengthen the State's strong business and cultural ties internationally, Governor Martin O'Malley today announced that he will lead a delegation of business, elected and civic leaders on an eight-day economic development mission in late November to Israel.
Earlier today, the Governor joined U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. Dr. Michael Oren, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown, and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman at an event in Fulton to celebrate the opening of ELTA North America. The company, which leverages state-of-the-art technology from ELTA Systems Ltd., the world's 4th largest radar company and a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), announced plans to create 100 new high-tech jobs in the State.
"Progress is a choice. Job creation is a choice. Investing in innovation and growing companies, while strengthening our partnerships at home and abroad is also a choice," said Governor O'Malley. "In Maryland, we're able to attract businesses like ELTA because we believe in innovating, educating, and rebuilding our infrastructure. Together, we choose to grow the number of companies on the cutting-edge of science and discovery that call our State home. That's why we're pleased to announce today that we will be leading an economic development mission to Israel to build on Maryland and Israel's shared strengths in life sciences, cyber and homeland security, and aerospace and defense so we can attract more companies like ELTA North America."
Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. Dr. Oren added: "Israel's innovative culture has led to groundbreaking global contributions in high-tech, medicine, and security technology, and has enhanced our far-reaching cooperation with the State of Maryland. The opening of ELTA North America in Howard County, to provide 100 new jobs to Marylanders is a brilliant reflection this partnership, and a poignant example of U.S. support for Israel being invested directly and indirectly back in the United States. We look forward to hosting Governor O'Malley's delegation, and expanding the dynamic economic synergy between Maryland and Israel."
"Israel has been called "The StartUp Nation' and continues to excel in innovation," said Abba David Poliakoff, Chairman of the Maryland/Israel Development Center. "It's a strong market for Maryland to attract new companies and jobs, as evidenced by ELTA today. We look forward to an exciting and productive trade mission to Israel with Governor O'Malley."
While the itinerary is still being developed, Governor O'Malley is scheduled to travel to Eilat to speak at the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy and Innovation Conference alongside Israel's Chief Scientist Avi Hasson. He will then travel back to Tel Aviv where he will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; host a breakfast reception for high-tech Israeli entrepreneurs; and participate in a wreath laying ceremony and tour of Yad V'Shem, Israel's Holocaust Memorial. This will be Governor O'Malley's second economic development mission to Israel, having led a delegation of business leaders there in 2008.
The Governor is also scheduled to meet with executives from ELTA Systems Ltd., one of Israel's leading defense electronics companies and the parent company of ELTA North America. Through the efforts of the Maryland/Israel Development Center and elected officials, ELTA North America opened a 7,500-square-foot space in the growing Maple Lawn area and plans to hire more staff and grow to a full service office to include electronics manufacturing. To assist with the project, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development approved a $300,000 conditional loan through the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Fund (MEDAF) and Howard County is offering a property tax credit.
Nissim Hadas, president & CEO of ELTA Systems Ltd. and chairman of the board of ELTA North America spoke about his company's investment in Maryland and its plans for growth. "ELTA is embarking on a new strategy to synergize the efforts of ELTA Systems Ltd. and ELTA North America to provide premier electronic system of system capabilities and support for the discriminating requirements and needs of our U.S. customers," Hadas said.
"ELTA's decision to open in Maryland reflects our commitment to strategic investments that expand opportunities to Maryland's highly trained workforce. We hope that these first 100 jobs are just the beginning." said Lt. Governor Brown, who leads the O'Malley-Brown Administration's economic development portfolio. "As the first Maryland elected official to meet with ELTA, I am thrilled that they've chosen to call Maryland home."
Maryland has long maintained ties with Israel, building on shared strengths in biotechnology, IT and aerospace and defense. Currently about 20 Israeli companies maintain offices in Maryland, including Teva BioPharmaceuticals, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. and IMI Services (a subsidiary of Israel Military Industries). In 2011, Israel was Maryland's 47th largest trading partner with $48.8 million in product exports, mostly chemicals, transportation equipment, and computer, electronic and electrical products.
The O'Malley-Brown Administration has taken significant steps to ramp up the State's international outreach. Last year, the Governor led two historic economic development missions -- one to China, South Korea and Vietnam and one to India -- that netted a combined $145 million in trade and investment deals for the State and the companies that were part of the delegation. As a result, several delegations from those countries have visited Maryland in recent months, which have resulted in additional partnerships and deals for Maryland companies.
The State has also opened a number of foreign trade offices in targeted countries, including Maryland's first Africa trade office which opened in August. In addition to Israel and Africa, the State has foreign offices in China (Shanghai), Colombia, France (Paris), Russia, South Korea (Seoul), Taiwan (Taipei), Vietnam (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City) and the Western Balkans (Montenegro). With the exception of the offices in China and Israel, all the State's foreign offices are opened on a contingency basis with no up-front cost to taxpayers.
Maryland's Office of International Investment and Trade works to stimulate foreign direct investment in the State, offers export assistance for small and mid-sized Maryland companies and coordinates international trade and investment missions and trade show opportunities for Maryland companies. For more information on resources available to business that want to market their products or services globally, visit www.choosemaryland.org