Ambassador of Israel to the European Union (EU) and NATO Aharon Leshno-Yaar this week signed a logistics agreement with the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). The agreement is a breakthrough for Israeli companies in the cyber, optics, defense, and software sectors; it enables Israeli companies to compete in NATO tenders and be part of NATO's database of authorized exporters, thereby opening many doors to Israeli companies choosing to operate in this channel.
Israel Defense and Military Attache to the Netherlands, EU, and NATO Colonel Arik Hen also attended the signing. SIBAT (Ministry of Defense International Defense Cooperation Authority) representative Merav Dar went to Brussels to finish up the final details of the agreement. Registration in NATO's authorized database of suppliers will take place through SIBAT according to a database of 700 registered Israeli companies. NSPA's corresponding database will be managed from Brussels.
Talking with "Globes" from Brussels, Leshno-Yaar said that the agreement was "the culmination of several years of work. NSPA coordinates work with NATO countries' armies, and this is the ideal way for Israeli industries to get a foothold in various projects."
Lesho-Yaar said that all supervision would be conducted through SIBAT in Israel, which would transfer the information to the relevant companies and help open doors to various projects. "NATO greatly values the IDF's military capabilities and the Israeli defense industries, and wants this connection," he added.
The tenders have great potential, but NATO member countries have the right to ask that bids be restricted to defense businesses operating in NATO countries. Israel, which is not a NATO member, has the status of a "non-NATO ally."
The procurement agreement is something new in relations between Israel and NATO. Israel estimates the value of deals likely to be opened to Israeli companies by the agreement at $4.5 billion. It is assumed that most of the tenders to be opened to Israeli companies will come from small NATO members, not from the US.
NSPA general manager Peter Dohmen, who signed the agreement together with Leshno-Yaar, said in his announcement, "This cooperation agreement will enable the further discussions between our Agency’s logistics experts, and will not only benefit Israel, but can also offer potential economies of scale to other NATO Support and Procurement Organization (NSPO) nations.”
Relations between Israel and NATO have been cold in recent years, following the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident. Turkey, a prominent NATO member, delayed all NATO activity with Israel. Only after a compromise agreement was signed with Turkey was the road paved for progress by Israel's representatives to NATO, and the agreement signed last week is part of this progress.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on February 12, 2018
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