Walker to lead trade mission to Israel

Governor touts export gains in first half of year

Gov. Scott Walker during an event Aug. 28 at Empire Level in Mukwonago.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:08 pm

Gov. Scott Walker will lead a trade mission to Israel from Oct. 27 to Nov. 3, his office announced Wednesday. The trip will be his second trade mission of the fall after a September trip to Japan and South Korea.

Gov. Scott Walker during an event Aug. 28 at Empire Level in Mukwonago.

“Not only will this mission provide Wisconsin companies with the opportunity to grow their international business, but it will allow us to encourage Israeli companies to consider establishing or expanding operations in our state,” Walker said.

The governor said Israel has one of the world’s fastest growing economies with an emphasis on technology and encouraged Wisconsin tech companies to join the trip.

The trade mission is open to all Wisconsin companies, but Walker’s office said the tech sector offered significant opportunities in the areas of information and communications technologies, safety and security equipment and services, renewable energy, defense equipment, and biotechnology.

The Wisconsin Economic Development will help businesses on the trip coordinate targeted, one-on-one meetings with potential Israeli partners. For additional information on the trip, visit the WEDC website. 

Walker’s office also sought to highlight the state’s exports, pointing to U.S. Census trade data released at the beginning of August.

Wisconsin’s total export value ranked 19th in the country at nearly $11.2 billion, an 8.2 percent increase from last year. The U.S. as a whole saw exports increase 6.67 percent.

“Our solid first-half export numbers, which outpaced the U.S. increase in exports, is yet another indication of the overall strength of Wisconsin’s economy,” Walker said. “We are seeing more companies of all sizes and industries gain access to new markets and new customers through exporting.”

BizTimes reported in July the state’s exports increased 6.5 percent during the first five months of the year and was slightly behind the country as a whole at that point. The state had a strong showing in June with almost $2.2 billion in exports representing a 16 percent increase from last year, according to Census data.

Wisconsin also saw a 6.4 percent decrease in exports last year as a strong dollar made it difficult for manufacturers to sell their products overseas. U.S. exports were down 3.3. percent last year and Wisconsin ranked 36th in growth.

Canada remained the state’s top export destination during the first half of 2017, despite a dispute during the spring over milk that drew the attention of President Donald Trump. Wisconsin companies sent $3.43 billion worth of goods to Canada during the first half of the year, a 2.1 percent increase.

Mexico and China remained the second and third top export destinations, but both saw stronger increases of 17.5 and 19 percent respectively.

Saudi Arabia jumped into the fourth spot as an export destination with the value of goods increased from $185.1 million last year to $476.2 million during the first half of this year. The total eclipses the total value of all Wisconsin exports to the country during all of 2016.

Japan and South Korea, the destinations for Walker’s September trade mission, were the states number four and eight trading partners respectively last year. Israel did not make the top 25.

Not included in the governor’s release was the increase in Wisconsin’s imports, which are up 25 percent year-to-date to $13.2 billion. Imports in June were up 29.5 percent over last year to $2.3 billion.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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