This past week, the governor of the U.S. state of Georgia, Nathan Deal and a delegation of Georgia officials and business leaders visited Israel on a five-day mission highlighting the unique economic partnership between Israel and Georgia. The governor met with prominent members of the Israeli government including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat to explore trade and business opportunities as well as Atlanta’s sister city of Ra’anana.
“Israel is a vital partner in friendship and in our economic development efforts,” the Georgia governor said in a press release on June 25. “We are here to bolster our ties as we celebrate Georgia’s 20th year in the Israeli market and our long-standing commitment to the country.”
During the visit, the Georgia delegation met with Israeli companies that have invested in Georgia as well as those considering doing so. The Israel-based Haifa Group, for example will build a new Controlled Release Fertilizer manufacturing facility in Savannah, Georgia. The Haifa Group is a global leader of specialty fertilizers, specialty plant nutrients, potassium nitrate, food phosphates in the agricultural industry.
The Haifa Group, whose operations span over 100 countries in 5 continents, will invest $12 million in the Georgia plant that will create 20 new jobs in the U.S. state nicknamed the Peach State, for its official fruit.
“This new plant serves as a testament to Georgia’s advanced agriculture technology industry,” Governor Deal stated. “We fully expect that this new production facility will help establish our state as a center of advanced fertilizer technology, with farmers, nursery owners and professional turf experts across the country asking for our products.”
In 2013, Georgia was ranked as the leading state in the Southeastern United States and eighth in the nation in terms of total trade with Israel. Imports to Israel from Georgia increased by 71 percent and total trade increased by 46 percent from 2012-2013. Approximately $4 million worth of Georgia peanuts and pecans have been sold to Israel as part of a Georgia state federally-funded program to attract international buyers to Georgia. Among other international buyers including Brazil, China, Germany, Canada, Japan, Mexico and the UK, Israel has emerged as the leading Middle Eastern investor nation in Georgia.
In addition, Delta Air Lines offers multiple daily flights from Atlanta to Tel Aviv via New York and Amsterdam. The Georgia Ports Authority in Savannah offers two weekly shipping services to the Port of Haifa and one to the Port of Ashdod.
Since 1994, Israel and Georgia, which was recently named the top business state in the U.S., have had a long-established partnership through business, international trade, government, tourism and other avenues.
“Georgia has a unique advantage with the Israeli Consulate General based in Atlanta and organizations like conexx: America Israel Business Connector,” said Chris Carr, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “These partners of ours, which work actively to promote a stronger relationship, provide key connections and demonstrate goodwill between our state and Israel.”