More economic investment from Israel could mean more business and jobs for Mississippi. That's according to Governor Phil Bryant who met with the Israeli Ambassador at an economic summit in Jackson. The two officials say both Israel and Mississippi can benefit from a strong relationship.
For the second time in less than a year, Governor Bryant met with Israeli leaders to promote more trade between Mississippi and the Middle Eastern country. Bryant traveled to Israel last November as part of an effort boost economic development for the state. In the six months since, Bryant says he's learned a lot about how Mississippi and Israel can benefit from a partnership.
"We talked about Mississippi charm meeting Israeli chutzpah," says Bryant. "That's exactly where we're at. Not only do we want to grow our relationships with business men and women now in Israel, but Israel has businesses all over the world. If there is product, I quite honestly don't want them going to Texas of California. I want them coming to Mississippi."
Last year, Mississippi exported nearly $11.5 billion in goods and services, but only $33 million went to Israel. Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer says his country could truly benefit from increased investment into Mississippi.
"I think people would be shocked to see the numbers, the ease of doing business, you're tax and regulatory environment here," Dermer says. "You've got companies here coming in, looking for certain skills, and then you have the labor who has those skills. Which drives more company and more labor. You create this virtuous cycle. Some of that has happened in Mississippi with national companies and I think now that is something that can happen with international companies."
Governor Bryant says he plans to lead another trade delegation to Israel before the end of the year.