Maryland Governor to Lead Trade Mission to Israel

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan will be leading a trade mission to Israel this month, officials said Wednesday.

The seven-day trip, scheduled for Sept. 19 through Sept. 26, will focus on economic development. Business, academic and Jewish leaders from Maryland will accompany the governor and some administration officials.

About 25 private-sector representatives are going, said Barry Bogage, executive director of the Maryland Israel Development Center, a public-private partnership that works with the state's Commerce Department.

Bogage said Israel is a strong market for Maryland because of a shared interest in high-tech businesses such as life sciences and cybersecurity.

The trip will include stops in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Maryland officials will have private meetings with business leaders, as well as attend public events and speaking engagements. Hogan will be a keynote speaker at a conference on the Tel Aviv University campus aimed at helping high-tech entrepreneurs connect with investors and economic development support services, Bogage said.

``We have several expected announcements coming out of the trip that we're excited about, and we'll let you know what happens with those as things progress,'' Bogage said.

Bogage added that officials are working on arranging a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and a meeting is scheduled with former Prime Minister Shimon Peres.

The cost of the trip to the state of Maryland is estimated to be about $120,000. Private-sector officials are paying their own way.

Maryland governors have been taking trade trips to Israel for decades.

Hogan's predecessor, Gov. Martin O'Malley, made two trips during his two terms in Annapolis and another as mayor of Baltimore. Former Gov. Robert Ehrlich led a trade mission in 2003, and former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele led a trip in 2005. Former Gov. Parris Glendening also led a trade mission to Israel in 1997. Former Gov. William Donald Schaefer went as well.

``It's very competitive among the states to attract Israeli companies,'' Bogage said. ``There are about probably 12 or 15 states that have economic development representation in Israel, and so in order to be in the game, we've got to go. We've got to be represented, and there's nobody better than the governor to do that.''

Hogan made a 12-day trade trip to Asia last year.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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