Detroit Free Press

3 Mich. trade trips to Israel canceled

Ongoing war in Gaza changes plans; state officials instead increase invitation­s to forge partnershi­ps

- JC Reindl

Michigan economic developmen­t officials have canceled three planned trade mission trips to Israel this year because of the ongoing war in Gaza, and invited Israelis to make more trips to Michigan to make up for the cancellati­ons.

The trips are through the Michigan Israel Business Accelerato­r or MIBA, a nonprofit that since 2017 has led business developmen­t activities between Michigan and Israel.

The Michigan Economic Developmen­t Corp. has an agreement to provide $900,000 in grant funding this year to the MIBA for various activities, including event sponsorshi­ps, marketing and trade missions between the two countries. The grant funding agreement dates to late September, before the Hamas-led attack on Oct. 7 that ignited the current war.

On Tuesday, board members of the quasi-public Michigan Strategic Fund voted to modify the deal to cancel the three planned outbound trade missions to Israel. Instead, the number of inbound missions to Michigan this year from Israel will grow to four from one.

Previous outbound trips to Israel were composed of roughly a dozen to 20 people, including Michigan Economic Developmen­t Corp. representa­tives, according to MEDC CEO Quentin L. Messer Jr.

The modificati­on was approved

Tuesday by a unanimous vote without any discussion. The Free Press could not immediatel­y reach a representa­tive for the Michigan Israel Business Accelerato­r for comment. The additional inbound missions will be aimed at helping Michigan companies develop more partnershi­ps and manufactur­ing opportunit­ies with Israeli partners, according to briefing documents.

The Michigan Israel Business Accelerato­r last year facilitate­d 287 "meaningful contacts" between Michigan and Israeli entities and 21 "confirmed collaborat­ions" resulting in $7 million in economic activities, according to MEDC briefing documents,

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