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From Israel, Christie hopes to spur economic development

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Increased interest from Israeli businesses could spur more economic development and job growth in New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie said on a conference call about his trade mission in Israel today.

"New Jersey has gotten a lot of positive publicity for the first time in a long time," Christie said. "Even if only a quarter of these (meetings with Israeli companies) go through, we'll do real well."

According to Christie, Choose New Jersey President Tracye McDaniel's projection that the trade mission in Israel will result in up to $281 million in capital investment, as well as the creation or retention of up to 660 jobs in the state, is based on economic development projects already in the state's pipeline.

"Interest will get higher from this trip, and we'll possibly add even more to the pipeline," Christie said. "This is a really fruitful trip in that regard, and we're making some real friends over here."

After meeting with executives from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and electric car startup company A Better Place in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, Christie said there was a "lot to come out of it from an economic perspective," since Teva already has two locations in the state with 300 employees, and the "number two of (A Better Place) is from Tenafly."

According to Christie, Choose New Jersey hosted a roundtable with mostly high-tech entrepreneurs in Israel, including Google Israel managing director Meir Brand, which Christie said could "expand our reach in opportunities," as businesses in New Jersey could directly contact more global consumers through the Internet.

While former Gov. Christie Todd Whitman brought 50 to 100 business executives on her past trade missions to increase business for the state, Christie said he only brought a dozen of the "folks who could provide a business and cultural perspective," so that he could have "intimate and useful meetings … with meaningful discussions to lead to business development.

"Having 50 to 100 people on a trip like this, I don't know how you can make it productive," Christie said.

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