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Monday, September 8, 2008

Israel US to hold first forum to discuss Israeli high tech defense exports

Israel US to hold first forum to discuss Israeli high tech defense exports

Israel, US to hold first defense forum
Yaakov Katz , THE JERUSALEM POST Sep. 7, 2008

Israel and the United States will hold their first-ever joint High Technology Forum this week near Washington. It is aimed at easing
regulations for exports to Israel on dual-use products that have both a military and civilian use.

The forum will meet Tuesday at the Sheraton National Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. It will be led by Defense Ministry director-general Pinchas Buchris and US Undersecretary for Industry and Security Mario Mancuso.

The decision to hold the forum was made last year during a visit Mancuso made to Israel.

"Israel is a dynamic technology market and a strategic partner of the United States," Mancuso said at the time. "The High Technology Forum will accelerate, elevate and institutionalize a senior-level dialogue to address bilateral high technology trade, investment and related security issues within the context of our larger strategic relationship."

Mancuso agreed to create the forum after Israel established the Defense Export Controls Division two years ago. The division was created to ease US concerns that Israel does not maintain a tight export regime.

Israeli defense officials said they would use the forum to try to convince the Americans to ease restrictions on the export of dual-use products to Israel, such as supercomputers that have both military and civilian applications. Other examples are certain radars as well as night-vision goggles.

Until now, the US has imposed strict restrictions on the export of such products out of fear that they would be used for unapproved purposes.

The Israeli delegation, which will also include Eli Pincu, director of the ministry's Defense Export Controls Division, will tell the Americans that Israel has sufficient safeguards in place to ensure US interests.

"We believe that there is good enough supervision here and they can trust us," one official said.

The forum will also be used as an opportunity for representatives from Israeli and American defense industries to meet and discuss potential joint ventures and investments.

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