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March 10, 1989 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-03-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Batsheva works on an assembly line for Amcor, which does business with a Michigan company.

IF

or the past 17 years, Holocaust
survivor Batsheva has worked
on an assembly line packaging
shower heads for Amcor, a $100
million-a-year private Israeli
manufacturer of home appliances. -
Across the room, an Arab and an
Ethiopian Jew, who wears a kippah,
test the products to see if they meet
U.S. standards. After passing inspec-
tion, the shower heads are packaged,
moved to a warehouse and stamped
with their destination: Brass-Craft
Manufacturing, Southfield, Mich.
Brass-Craft is the only U.S.
distributor of the Israeli-made pro-
duct. Shower head sales have been
climbing since the companies began
working together in 1986, prompting
them to expand and develop a new
deluxe shower massager expected to
be in stores by August.
Brass-Craft is one of hundreds of
American companies seeking profits
in Israel. Experts say such businesses
provide much-needed jobs and money
and are helping secure Israel's
economic future.
Now for the first time, U.S. and
Israel economists are eyeing the
Jewish state as a potential interna-
tional business center.
"I'd go to Israel before Mexico or
Taiwan," says Len Andrews, Brass-
Craft executive vice president. "It was
slow moving at first, but it was easy

,

Kimberly Lifton spent a week in Israel
with members of the American/Israel
Chamber of Commerce of Michigan.
This is the first in a series on Israel's
business environment.

36

FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 1989

Hong Kon
diddle Eas

T

Of

With less government and more
business, Israel could become a
major player in the world
economic scene.

KIMBERLY LIFTON

Staff Writer

to develop a partnership. It has been
a two-way street."
In the past 10 years, many Israeli
companies have muscled through
bureaucratic red tape to join forces
with American companies. One-
hundred and fifty U.S. corporatibns —
including the Ann Arbor-based
Gelman Sciences, a research and
development company that
specializes in medical and industrial
supplies — have set up profitable
Israel subsidiaries.
The BIRD Foundation, which
operates on a $110 million endow-
ment funded by the U.S. and Israel
governments, has helped hundreds of
American businesses find Israeli
partners. It offers low-interest loans
for joint venture partners.
And countless support groups —
such as New York-based Operation In-
dependence, the American/Israel
Chamber of Commerce and the
Milwaukee-based Committee for
Economic Growth of Israel — serve as
matchmakers to make business with
Israel a little easier.
Many businessmen express in-
terest in setting up deals in Israel,
which is the only country in the world
that shares free trade status with
both the United States and the Euro-
pean Common Market. They are
reluctant because of the heavy hand
of the Israel government.
Even Brass-Craft's Andrews, who
never considered a joint venture un-
til he saw a state-of-the-art shower
head during a 1985 trade show in
Toronto, says he was squeamish about

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