Israel trade has potential for Pittsburgh [The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]
(Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Nov. 01--Pittsburgh is the American home to a number of Israel-based companies and there is "untapped potential" for more to come here and establish jobs in both countries, officials said on Thursday.
"Not enough Israeli companies know the potential in Pittsburgh, and companies here can learn more about opportunities in Israel," said Nili Shalev, Israel's economic minister to North America, who is based in New York.
Shalev and other Israeli representatives met with 30 executives and economic development professionals at the Marriott City Center, Downtown, to discuss opportunities.
They talked about sectors of interest to both countries -- with a focus on technology, oil and gas drilling, pharmaceuticals and business startups. Other ideas were establishing delegations to visit both countries, and a research and development relationship, Shalev said.
Such ideas could lead to Pittsburgh companies finding business opportunities in Israel and Pittsburgh becoming the American headquarters for more Israeli companies, said Gregg Roman of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.
Paul Harper, assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh's Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, said that with only 8 million people, Israel's marketplace is not big enough.
"Thirty percent of the technology in your cellphone is from there. ... They need strong partners around the world so their technology can meet a marketplace. This is an opportunity for Pittsburgh to get in on the ground floor."
Israeli companies in this region employ more than 300 workers. Ness USA Inc., an information technology company in Canonsburg, has 60. Retalix USA Inc., a software company in Marshall, has 30; EZ Energy USA operates nine am/pm Mini Marts in the region. A fourth Israeli company, medical software company dbMotion of Pittsburgh, was acquired by Allscripts Inc. of Chicago in March for $235 million. UPMC invested about $35 million in dbMotion in 2006.
Pittsburgh's cultural attractions and neighborhoods make it attractive, said Elad Strohmayer, Israel's deputy consul general for the Mid-Atlantic region, based in Philadelphia.
"When you establish businesses here, people come here, and Pittsburgh's reputation as a No. 1 livable city is important," he said.
Trade between the two countries is well established. The United States-Israel Free Trade Agreement in 1985 was the first U.S. free-trade agreement.
John D. Oravecz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7882 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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