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Business Leaders, Educators, and Civic Leaders to Join Governor O'Malley on Mission to Israel and Jordan

Press Release

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Location: Annapolis, MD

Governor Martin O'Malley will be joined by more than 30 business, civic and higher education leaders on an eight-day trade mission to Israel and Jordan, departing on Saturday, April 20. The mission marks the Governor's third to Israel, having traveled there as Baltimore's Mayor and also in 2008, but his first visit to Jordan, where he will address Jordanian businesses and government leaders at a dinner reception. The delegation will arrive in Jerusalem on Sunday, April 21, and will travel first to Amman, Jordan, then return back to Israel for the remainder of the mission. While in Israel, the Governor will meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres and other government officials, as well as a number of Israeli businesses in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

"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," said Governor O'Malley. "I look forward to traveling with this impressive group of educators, business and civic leaders as we work together to grow and expand our already-strong trade and investment ties with Israel and open new doors with Jordan's business community."

Among the local business, civic and higher education leaders on the mission will be Dr. Wallace Loh, President of the University of Maryland, College Park; Dr. Jay Perman, President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore; Dr. Arthur Abramson, Executive Director of the Baltimore Jewish Council; Delegate Sandy Rosenberg; and Rob Rosenbaum, President of the Maryland Technology Development Corp. (TEDCO). In addition, the delegation will include Maryland's Secretary of State John McDonough, Secretary of Business and Economic Development Dominick Murray, Maryland Port Administration Executive Director James White and Director of Governor's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Izzy Patoka. The mission is being coordinated by Barry Bogage, Executive Director of the Maryland/Israel Development Center.

"As Maryland's flagship, research university, we are poised to extend our existing ties with Israel's premier academic institutions, which are innovative-entrepreneurial powerhouses," said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. "Also, we anticipate building new bridges in Jordan. I am honored to join Governor O'Malley, and we intend to make the most of this extraordinary opportunity."

"I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to be part of Maryland's trade mission to Israel and Jordan," said Devinder Poonian, CEO of DP Clinical in Rockville. "Over the years, we have managed clinical trials in the U.S. for Israeli companies and have developed strong partnerships. Israel has many pharmaceutical, biotech and device companies and my goal for this mission is to further strengthen our existing relationships and develop new business partnerships."

"Israel and Maryland share common strengths in science and technology," said Barry Bogage, Executive Director of the Maryland/Israel Development Center. "We look forward to leveraging these strengths into more successes like ELTA's recent decision to set up their North American headquarters in the Maryland, bringing 100 high-tech jobs to the state."

During the mission, Governor O'Malley will promote Maryland as an ideal location for Israeli businesses looking to have a U.S. presence, particularly those in life sciences, cyber security, information technology, aerospace and defense -- industries that are strong for both Maryland and Israel. The Governor will address Israeli businesses during a dinner reception at U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro's residence and is scheduled to meet with executives of ELTA Systems, the Israeli aerospace company that recently opened a U.S office in Howard County with plans to create 100 new high-tech jobs. The Governor is also scheduled to visit the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

In addition, Governor O'Malley will meet with high-ranking Israeli government leaders, including members of the new Bayit Hayehudi and Yesh Atid parties. Delegation members will accompany the Governor at many of the official receptions, but will spend the majority of their time meeting one-one-one with potential business and educational partners.

Maryland has long maintained ties with Israel, building on shared strengths in biotechnology, IT, 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 2012, Israel was Maryland's 43rd largest trading partner with $51.1 million in product exports, mostly chemicals, transportation equipment, and computer and electronic products.

The O'Malley-Brown Administration has taken significant steps to ramp up the State's international outreach. In 2011, 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 2012. In addition to Israel and Africa, the State has foreign offices in China (Shanghai), Colombia, France (Paris), India, 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 operate 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


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