JERUSALEM (Sep. 4)
Finance Minister Yitzhak Modai left today for Washington for meetings, starting tomorrow, with key U.S. policy-makers, including Secretary of State George Shultz and Vice President George Bush.
He said before departing that the purpose of his trip was to update the Americans on the progress the government has made toward economic recovery and to iron out certain problems in connection with the recently established Free Trade Area between Israel and the U.S.
Modai stressed that his trip was not linked to the anticipated imminent receipt of $750 million in supplemental U.S. economic aid to Israel. “I am not going there to pick up the check,” he said.
Finance Ministry sources said Modai would stress to the Administration that several of the recommendations made by a high level team of American economists earlier this year have been implemented. Notably, Israel has finally eliminated the linkage of wages to the consumer price index. For example, the effects of the July 1 devaluation of the Shekel on prices were not reflected in the cost-of-living increments paid to wage-earners.
The sources said Modai would also brief the Americans on his efforts to cut government spending, particularly the cutback on price support subsidies which the U.S. economists strongly advised.