The USIEA team just hit Capitol Hill for a whirlwind week of meetings! The goal for the visit was to educate on, and socialize, some of the initiatives of foremost importance in the U.S.-Israel collaboration.
USIEA met with a series of prominent think tanks in the DC area as a part of expanding our thought leadership role. Think tank meetings were followed by a visit to the Embassy of Israel to meet with Ambassador Michael Herzog and Deputy Head of Mission Benjamin Krasna. In addition, the team met with Congressional offices on the Hill, including several members in House Leadership on the policy initiatives shaping the future of the U.S.-Israel collaboration.
On July 18, 2022, USIEA hosted a reunion dinner for members that have previously attended a Congressional tour to Israel. Dinner participants represented all six USIEA tours over the past eleven years. Founder & Executive Director Heather Johnston addressed the members and recounted USIEA’s extraordinary growth in the past decade. It is important to emphasize the organization’s continued presence in DC and with Congress since its founding in 2011. Members from the first tour were both blown away and encouraged to hear about USIEA’s ever-increasing influence and opportunity in working with leaders in both the U.S. and Israel. Heather was followed by Senator James Lankford who has attended two USIEA Congressional tours. He endorsed USIEA’s cutting edge work in education and policy, and the trailblazing efforts taking senior government leaders through Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).
On the heels of a successful Congressional tour this past May, USIEA announced its next trip planned for February 2023. The dinner also included prospective members who are interested in attending this upcoming tour. Altogether, 15 members and their spouses attended the dinner and echoed their support of USIEA’s role in educating Congress on Israel.
The Nearshoring Story -
Most notably, conversations centered on nearshoring U.S. pharmaceutical and life sciences supply lines out of China to Israel and other Abraham Accords countries. The nearshoring Lane of Action was born out of USIEA’s 2019 Congressional tour. The members on the tour were shocked at Israel’s level of involvement with the Chinese, and began to explore collaborative opportunities to encourage Israel to reduce its dependence on China. Six months later, COVID-19 hit America and exposed a massive vulnerability in U.S. supply chains in the areas of PPE equipment, pharmaceutical productions, and the life sciences industry at large. Suddenly, Americans were at risk of losing access to their most basic drugs like aspirin.
The spotlight is now focused on the growing national security threat from U.S. dependence on China and there is increasing interest and support in Congress to find a solution. USIEA began research on building a new road for collaboration between the U.S. and Israel to de-risk and diversify U.S. supply lines. In exploring nearshoring, Israel emerged as a superior hub for research and development in the life sciences field. The vision for collaboration enlarged with the introduction of the Abraham Accords creating further opportunities with other Middle East allies. After years of research and ongoing education, it is now evident that multiple tracks must be laid down to build a cohesive U.S.-Israel life sciences collaboration.
USIEA is educating members of Congress on:
The need for an FDA field office in the Middle East, specifically in an Abraham Accords country. The Middle East field office would allow the FDA to be more present and available in the region, creating an incentive for U.S. pharmaceutical companies to invest there and for the U.S. to become the partner of choice for biopharmaceutical advancement. Not only will this serve to reduce U.S. dependence on China, but also reduce China’s influence regionally.
Ways to incentivize U.S. pharmaceutical companies to move their manufacturing out of China. In looking at the Abraham Accords countries, Morocco has a workforce and infrastructure ripe for the production of critical APIs– or generic drugs– while the UAE and Israel have the capability for higher tech manufacturing of biosimilars. Relocating manufacturing to proven friendly allies would help secure critical U.S. supply lines.
Avenues to specifically raise up the U.S.-Israel dynamic. It is important to encourage U.S. companies engaged in the life sciences to look at Israel for partnership and investment. The Israeli ecosystem is among the best in the world and U.S. tech companies are consistently partnering with Israel. We can build upon this collaboration into the life sciences field through private investment and binational funding projects, like the Expanding Medical Partnerships with Israel to Lessen Dependency on China (EMPIL-DOC) program.
There is a concerted bipartisan effort to address the national security threat of American dependence on China. Israel and the Abraham Accords nations can provide the necessary alternatives with capital, research & development hubs, and manufacturing capabilities. A senior staff member serving under House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy emphasized that this creative solution to our nation’s supply chain risks would help reduce our overall dependence on China.
USIEA looks forward to continuing education on Capitol Hill and fostering the iconic U.S.-Israel collaboration.