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U.S. Desalination Experts Due in Israel on Tuesday

A team of American desalination experts are due in Israel Tuesday to examine prospects for erecting a sea-water-sweetening plant at Ashdod. The team is being sent under the terms of the new economic agreement signed by U.S. Treasury Secretary William Simon and Israel Finance Minister Yehoshua Rabinowitz in Washington last Tuesday. The U.S. undertook in that accord to contribute $20 million to a desalination plant at Ashdod with the Israeli government putting up an equivalent sum.

Finance Ministry Director General, Avraham Agmon, who announced today the team’s imminent arrival, said that Simon and Rabinowitz would meet again in Jerusalem in October as part of their intention to hold regular annual meetings in the wake of the economic accord.

Describing some other important elements of the accord, Agmon said it had been agreed that Israel could buy strategic raw materials directly from U.S. government stockpiles at favorable credit terms. Also, Israel would present a long-range order for basic foodstuffs — such as soya — which would protect her against any possible recurrence of food embargoes, such as that imposed by America on soya exports two years ago.

Agmon said the U.S. had not yet arranged for 10 top businessmen to join a joint panel designed to promote trade with and investment in Israel. But Simon had promised Rabinowitz that he personally would undertake to expedite this matter. (There have been reports that Arab pressures have dissuaded certain possible members of such a joint panel from putting forward their names.)

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