Mississippi Welcomes Israeli Cooperation On Border Protection, Gov OK With Tariffs

BILOXI, Miss. – The governor of Mississippi welcomed increased cooperation between U.S. and Israeli homeland security and defense companies on Tuesday.

“I believe what we can learn from the real world experience, unfortunately, of having someone that is on your border in a threatening manner, can be very beneficial here to the United States of America,” Gov. Phil Bryant (R) said here during a press availability at the International Homeland Defense and Security Summit.

The governor highlighted Israel’s real-world experience with its many miles of high tech border fences and how that can be used for U.S. purposes. He said Israel has shown you can secure a border with advanced technologies.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, along with state and Israeli officials, speak to reporters during the state's International Homeland Defense and Security Summit. (Photo: Defense Daily).

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, along with state and Israeli officials, speak to reporters during the state's International Homeland Defense and Security Summit. (Photo: Defense Daily).

An Israeli official agreed and highlighted how Israeli companies can partner with local Mississippi companies.

“I think Mississippi presents an amazing opportunity for the Israeli companies,” Lior Haiat, Consul-General of Israel to Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Puerto Rico, said at the press conference.

At the local political level, he said, “the door is not only open, there is a welcome sign for Israeli companies to come and partner with local companies.”

Haiat noted small and medium Israeli companies particularly “can really benefit from those connections with local companies in order to offer another market for them in the U.S.”

Separately, the governor lightly supported President Trump’s decision to place tariff on aluminum and steel imports.

When asked if the tariffs would have an impact on the state’s defense and aerospace industry Byant said, “I think time will tell. Obviously, there could be some additional cost for steel and aluminum but I think it will be temporary.”

Trump announced the 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent charge on aluminum last week.

Defense industry associations responded negatively but specific companies, like Huntington Ingalls Industries [HII], which has its Ingalls Shipbuilding shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., said they are assessing the exact impact to them (Defense Daily, March 8).

“But we are willing, I think the president is willing, to take some of that responsibility to have a better playing field with businesses around the world,” Bryant said. 

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