Espionage and property theft triggers call to suspend Israeli access to US market

Espionage and Property Theft Triggers Call to Suspend Israeli Access to U.S. Market

WASHINGTON, April 20 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A major legal filing urges the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to suspend preferential Israeli access to the U.S. market.

In 1983 the Israeli Prime Minister and American Israel Public Affairs Committee (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) lobbied the Reagan administration for preferential Israeli access to the U.S. market. In spite of overwhelming opposition from U.S. agricultural, industrial and citizens groups over Israel’s weak protection for intellectual property rights, the U.S.-Israel Free Trade Area was signed into law in 1985.

Intellectual property violations tainted negotiations of the agreement in 1984 when the FBI discovered that AIPAC obtained a copy of the secret report "Probable Economic Effect of Providing Duty Free Treatment for U.S. Imports from Israel, Investigation No. 332-180." The still classified 300 page report was compiled from business confidential market share, cost, and other closely held information solicited by the International Trade Commission for USTR use in negotiations.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s U.S. counterintelligence agencies uncovered Israeli networks illicitly acquiring and transferring intellectual property on U.S. weapons systems. Purloined intellectual property for missiles, imaging technology and other weapons was subsequently incorporated into Israeli manufactured systems. Some Israeli systems were exported to rogue regimes and rivals American manufacturers avoided under U.S. arms export prohibitions.

For each of the past three years the Israeli Ministry of Health and pharmaceutical manufacturers have been placed on USTR watch lists for practices that cost U.S. manufacturers billions of dollars. But calls for warranted enforcement of trade rules have generated no results. Worse, proceeds from ballooning Israeli cut diamond exports to the U.S. have been used to finance illegal West Bank settlements in contravention of Obama administration policy.

According to IRmep director Grant F. Smith, "This fatally flawed agreement didn’t simply facilitate intellectual property theft costing U.S. industries billions of dollars. It is the product of intellectual property theft."

A downloadable copy of the 92 page the USTR filing to suspend the U.S.-Israel trade agreement under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 is now available at http://www.IRmep.org. The Washington, DC-based Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy is an independent nonprofit that studies U.S. policy formulation toward the Middle East. IRmep’s Center for Policy & Law Enforcement examines how balanced and vigorous law enforcement can improve trade, economic development and America’s international standing.

Website: http://www.IRmep.org/

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source: PR Newswire