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March 15, 1996 - Image 46

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-03-15

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PEACE page 45

and for our governments and for
people in general: developing a
sound economic base throughout
the Middle East that will clearly
cause peace to prosper, if we get it
right. My exposure to the Israelis
was that this is precisely what
they're trying to do."
General Motors did not and
does not speak publicly about the
Arab-inspired boycott of Israel, Mr.
Pearce said, but he considers it to
be moot at this point.
"We were very respectful of our
relationship with Israel and were
not willing to throw it overboard.
It was walking on a tightrope to
have the relationships that made
sense in the Arab world and not
jeopardize our relationship with
Israel, and we were able to ac-
complish that. I think that issue
is largely behind us, with the ex-
ception of countries we have no
particular interest in doing busi-
ness with," he said.
GM's vehicle assembly plant in
Egypt is an example of the corn-
pany's expansion in the Middle
East in general, he said.
"Israelis feel very strongly about
American-made products. I sus-
pect that comes a lot from defense
purchases Israel has made over
the years from U.S. defense com-
panies," Mr. Pearce said.
The sale of GM cars, including
Cadillacs, Chevrolet Caprices and
Chevy Suburbans, has quadrupled
in a short period of time, via Uni-
versal Motors Inc., GM's joint ven-
ture with Israel, Mr. Pearce said.
UMI distributes vehicles for Saab,


It's no big deal, said the 52-
year-old father of two teens, an
industrial engineer by educa-
"Our company has been do-
ing business in Israel for the
last 15 or so years, and the goal
of the America-Israel Chamber
of Commerce is to promote
commerce between American
and Israeli companies, so they
thought it was appropriate," he
Deco-Grand, with plants in
Royal Oak and Troy, manufac-
tures precision machine as-
semblies for the automotive and
diesel engine markets, includ-
ing engine and transmission
components and assemblies.
The company grew from three
or four employees 50 years ago
to around 500 today.
Mr. Grand doesn't think
Deco-Grand was one of the
first companies to do business
with Israel, but it may be one
of the largest local importers
of goods from that country.
One of its top suppliers is
Deutch-Dagan in Ashkelon,
site of a suicide bombing three

GM-North America and Isuzu,
selling 20,000 cars there last year.
A free trade agreement between
the U.S. and Israel means tariffs
on cars, trucks and other equip-
ment are not particularly high.
And even though the General
Agreement on Trade and Tariffs
is supposed to remove trade bar-
riers between countries, each coun-
try has its own set of regulations,
safety or otherwise. GM, said Mr.
Pearce, has had "good luck" with
the Israelis in terms of getting its
products into the Israeli market
without confronting a lot of bu-
reaucratic inertia.
Mr. Pearce, 54, shook his head
at assertions forwarded by GOP
presidential candidate Patrick
Buchanan, for one, that free trade
agreements hurt the American
"It scares the life out of me to
hear some of the statements made
by Mr. Buchanan. It would be an
absolute throwback to 100 years
ago to bring down a curtain
around this country and literally
destroy the trade that has made
the country what it is. Exports cre-
ate jobs in this country; it's Econ
101, and I'm amazed Mr.
Buchanan doesn't understand
that." 0

so The America-Israel Cham-
ber of Commerce Honors Din-
ner begins at 6:30 pin. Sunday,
March 17, at the Somerset Col-
lection in Troy. Tickets are
$100. For reservations, call the
Chamber at (810) 646-1948.

weeks ago. Deco-Grand im-
ports a few million parts each
year from Israeli suppliers.
"The Israeli products we im-
port are difficult, complex parts
which we originally purchased
here, but we found Israel was
more cost competitive and met
the very stringent quality re-
quirements that are in effect to-
day," Mr. Grand said.
Deco-Grand also markets
products here for six or seven
other countries in Israel, but
does not yet export to Israel.
Another reason Deco-Grand
was chosen for accolades this
year is its openness and success
in hiring new Americans and
Deco-Grand's chief engi-
neer/plant manager is Israeli
and the company employs
about 40 Russian immigrants,
some in technical jobs.
Mr. Grand explained that it's
a family tradition.
"My dad was an immigrant
from Russia and he always
kind of set the pace with our
company and with me in trying
to help others who are living
through the experience he lived

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