NEW YORK (May. 9)
Gideon Patt, Minister of Industry and Trade of Israel, said here that despite Israel’s many economic problems his country can chalk up many accomplishments. Addressing a gathering of American and Israeli businessmen at a luncheon given by the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel last Friday, Patt noted that Israeli exports totalled $11.2 billion in 1982, compared with $57 million when Israel was established in 1948.
Patt said one of the burdens of Israel’s economy is that it owes about $22 billion in foreign debt. He added, however, that Israel is very “punctual” in repaying its debts. The minister called for increased economic ties and expanded trade between Israel and the United States. He said Israel imports from the U.S. more than it exports to the U.S. He said that Israel would like to reverse that situation.
Patt, the only Cabinet minister who did not return to Israel to participate in the special Cabinet meeting last Friday which was called to act on the Israel-Lebanese agreement proposed by Secretary of State George Shultz, said he supported the Cabinet’s decision to accept the agreement. The minister said that prior to the Chamber of Commerce meeting he spoke with Premier Menachem Begin and told him that he supported the Shultz proposal.