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August 11, 1989 - Image 50

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-08-11

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

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50

FRIDAY, AUGUST 11, 1989

Ross Projects Healthy Outlook
For Michigan-Israel Business

KIMBERLY LIFTON

Staff Writer

0

utgoing state Com-
merce Director Doug
Ross is projecting a
healthy outlook for trade bet-
ween Michigan and Israel,
despite concern that business
relations between the two
states might plummet when
he leaves his post next month.
Although no projects have
been completed since Ross
and Israel Trade Minister
David Litvak signed an
economic cooperative agree-
ment in 1985, Ross said he ex-
pects some ongoing deals bet-
ween Michigan and Israeli
companies to come to fruition
within 1 1/2 years. About 12
Michigan small • businesses
are trying to set up joint ven-
tures with Israeli companies,
Ross said.
"Michigan is further ahead
with Israel than any other
state in the country;
said. "I am optimistic that we
will soon see some deals com-
pleted. I think we have
enough activity going and
hopefully, there is enough
momentum and people who
care to make our plans suc-
cessful."
After 4 1/2 years as commerce
chief, Ross resigned last
month to head the Corpora-
tion for Enterprise Develop-
ment in Washington, D.C. He
leaves for Washington in
September.
Ross took on Israel and
Michigan business as a pet
project during his term, open-
ing the gateway for trade bet-
ween the two states.
"As a public servant, you
can't take on personal goals if
they are not beneficial for the
state," Ross said. "But Israel
business is good for Michigan
and it was my chance to do
something beyond my con-
tribution to the United
Jewish Appeal."
Ross' departure intensified
fears by businessmen and
Israel supporters, who said
Israel-Michigan trade rela-
tions will not be carried out
without Ross at the helm of
the Commerce Department.
Yet Ross said the concerns
are unfounded since Gov.
James Blanchard has been
consistently supportive of his
plan to mutually benefit
Michigan and Israel with in-
creased trade.
Blanchard has not named a
successor, but said he will
continue to pursue trade ef-
forts between Michigan and
Israel.

'

Ross: Departing

"Cooperative efforts bet-
ween Michigan and Israel
have resulted in very positive
working relationships and in-
creased opportunities for
trade, investment and joint
ventures for both states,"
Blanchard said.
State Rep. Burton Leland,
D-Detroit, who drafted a now
defunct bill that would have
solidified in the legislature
the first business exhchange
between Israel and Michigan,
agreed with Ross that the
business ventures would
transpire as long as Blan-
chard is governor.
Legislators said hearings
for the bill were postponed
last October after mounting
pressure from the American
Arab Anti-Discrimination
Committee. Leland said he
will "hold off for a few years"
before re-introducing the bill.
"We will hold off until the
political nature improves or
until negotiations with Israel
are such that we need to put
legislation on the books,"
Leland said.
Shelly Jackier, executive
director of the American-
Israel Chamber of Commerce
of Michigan, said she was con-
fident that planned ventures
will .materialize.
Like doing business with
other foreign countries, work-
ing with Israel involves bridg-
ing cultural differences. lb do
so, Ross said, more bi-cultural
middlemen and matchmakers
are needed to effectively put
deals together.
"I don't think capital is a
problem," Ross said. "The pro-
blem with setting up interna-
tional deals is finding
businesses with mutual in-
terests."
Meanwhile, Ross said, the

Michigan Strategic Fund is
considering creating a
brokerage network to help
potential joint venture part-
ners seek private funds.
"Building international
relationships for Michigan
businesses is one of the
greatest challenges facing the
state in the next 10 years," he
said. "But it will not happen
quickly. The biggest mistake
where Israel is involved
would be not to have patience.
If deals don't come together,
we'll just have to go back to
the drawing board."
rIb date, Israel has signed
reciprocal trade agreements
with 13 states, including
Michigan. Five Israeli com-
panies operate offices in
metropolitan Detroit.
Gelman Sciences of Ann Ar-
bor is th only Michigan corn-
pany with a wholly-owned
subsidiary in Israel.
U.S. Department of Com-
merce statistics show that
two-way trade has jumped
from $103 million in 1950 to
$6.3 billion in 1988, making
Israel the United State's 21st
largest trading partner. In
fact., U.S. exports to Israel
reached $3.2 billion in 1988,
and Israel's exports to the
United States rose to $3.1
billion. ❑

I IN BRIEF I

CHARLES M. LAX, 42, a

principal in the Southfield
law firm of Rubenstein,
Isaacs, Lax and Bordman,
P.C., has been selected as the
only Michigan representative
to the Employee Plans (EP)
Ad Hoc Group for the Internal
Revenue Service.
The EP Ad Hoc Group was
designed to provide a medium
for the exchange of sugges-
tions and information be-
tween the selected group
members and representatives
of the national office of the
IRS, which is responsible for
the administration of the
employee plans division. The
members of the EP Ad Hoc
Group will be consulted con-
cerning such topics as annual
reporting and filing re-
quirements and IRS audit
guidelines for employee
plans.

DENNIS I. BLENDER,

Ph.D., of Southfield has been
promoted to manager for
Plante and Moran's manage-
ment consulting staff.
Blender, 37, is respnsible for
psychological assessment and
organizational consulting and
training.

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