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U.S. Imports from Israel Up 30 Percent

American imports from Israel increased by nearly 30 percent in 1981 over the previous year, according to figures released here today by the Government of Israel Trade Center.

The total of $1.265 billion in 1981 over the previous year’s total of $977 million in 1980 was a record for Israeli exports to the United States and marked the first time the dollar value of such exports had exceeded $1 billion in a single year, the report said.

The fastest growing category of Israeli-exports to the U.S. continues to be electrical and electronic products, which registered a rise of some 89 percent in 1981 over the 1980 total. Much of the gain came in the form of high technology products researched and developed by Israeli scientists and engineers, it was noted.

Transportation equipment rose 79 percent in 1981 over 1980. A major factor in this increase, according to the report, was the success of the Westwind business jet manufactured by Israel Aviation Industries which were sold in the U.S. by Atlantic Aviation of Wilmington, Del. Impressive gains were also scored in Israeli food exports, which increased by 80 percent over the 1980 total. Goods under the heading of light industry, such as jewelry, rose 42 percent, the report said.

In all, exports to the U.S. accounted for 22 percent of Israel’s total overseas sales in 1981, according to Shmuel Ben-Tovim, Israel’s Trade Commissioner in the U.S. He said Israeli export figures for the first quarter of 1982 confirmed the steady growth of sales to the U.S.

POLICIES DON’T AFFECT BUYING DECISIONS

Meanwhile, the Trade Center reports that according to a market research study attitudes toward Israel have very little impact on decisions by American shoppers to buy Israeli products.

A spokesperson said that the survey was made last October. It was based on a national probability telephone sample of 1,026 male and female heads of households. The survey indicated that awareness by Americans of Israeli products is very high. The spokesperson stressed that the Americans questioned covered the total population.

Nine of every ten shoppers are aware of at least one product made in Israel and more than half could list four or more Israeli-made products. Those most known and most frequently purchased by American consumers are food, clothing and jewelry. The respondents rated products from Israel as above average in quality but competitively priced with non-Israeli products, the Trade Center reported.

One-fourth of those surveyed had purchased at least one Israeli-made product and gave practical, rather than emotional, reasons for doing so. In order of importance, reasons were; Israel products better met needs; personal preference; high quality and curiosity. Shmuel Ben-Tovim, Israeli Trade Commissioner to the United States, said the results of the survey are being used to develop and implement a marketing plan for Israeli imports.

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