"Business Opportunities Lie in the Areas of Specialty"

David Rubin, former President of the CICC speaks to Shalom Life about bilateral trade, areas of opportunities and a possibility of a Canadian WikiLeaks.

Published: March 7th 2011
in Economics » Local

David Rubin

Canada Israel Chamber of Commerce got a wake up call four years ago. Israel’s Foreign Ministry and Israel’s Ambassador to Canada Alan Baker, asked David Rubin and a small group of colleagues to reestablish the Chamber after several years of inactivity. Rubin, a business lawyer in Toronto and a senior partner with Gowlings, a major Canadian law firm, decided to take the leadership role and lead the organization to new horizons.


Since its establishment in the mid 60’s, the Chamber was fully operational until about 2000. Upon taking on his role, Rubin and his colleague, Jacques Shore, reactivated the Chamber's activities in 2006. Rubin became the President, and Shore the National Vice President. At a special ceremony in Baker’s home, the new era was launched. Things have been evolving quickly since then. “We spent a lot of hours building the organization and got support from distinguished people in the community. Today we have 30 Directors and 52 Governors. In order to engage more Governors, we need to find a way to have more space on the letterhead since all their names are printed on the letterhead and there is no space for more names”. At the Chamber’s recent Annual Meeting, Rubin was elected Vice Chair and Oded Orgil as President.


Promoting bilateral trade


The Chamber organizes about two networking business events monthly. In addition, it provides a platform to present opportunities for early stage companies from Israel, other business and trade opportunities between Israel and Canada and events in conjunction with other Jewish organizations. The Executive committee meets monthly and plans organizational activities. “The purpose of the Chamber is to promote bilateral trade between Canada and Israel, it is not a charity. The sole purpose of the Chamber is to generate business for Canadians to do business with Israelis and vice versa”. The Chamber liaises with the American Chamber of Commerce and has good relations with Israeli and Canadian government officials, Israel Canada Chamber of Commerce and more.


Premier McGuinty's Mission to Israel


Rubin was invited to join Premier McGuinty's mission to Israel in May, 2010. Minister Sandra Pupatello asked for the Chamber's advice regarding the trip to Israel. She held a joint reception with the CICC and subsequently so did Federal Minister Peter Van Loan. “The Chamber is approached consistently. The Premier's mission was very successful, everyone was very pleased with it. In Israel we met with counterparts. We toured Teva’s state of the art facility in Jerusalem, it was very impressive, the building is built of Jerusalem stone and looks like part of the Silicon Valley. At the special dinner for several hundred guests there was an announcement that Teva will invest $60 million in their Canadian facility and Premier McGuinty announced an Ontario match of $6 million. One highlight was meeting with President Peres who established a special study with Ontario for brain research”.


Opportunities lie in the areas of specialty


“Business opportunities lie in the areas of specialty” says Rubin identifying the sophisticated technologies as break-through and as examples for potential deals between the countries. "All that the Start-up Nation talked about. The Chamber acts as a stimulus to promote trade and even that cannot include everything”. He mentioned a variety of areas that are advertised on the CICC website to promote trade relations between interested parties.


He believes that the trade platform is not connected to the recent political government. “If the Canadian government finds good business deals they will utilize it. It is wonderful that the Harper government is favorable to Israel but also Dalton McGuinty went to Israel as well as other government delegations. It has filtered down, it is fertilizing and you cannot do it overnight but it doesn’t matter, they know what a good business is. If you have good opportunity they will use it. It is not a question of political constituency”.


The Magen David on the Canadian Forces uniform


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