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Documents reveal AIPAC trade secrets leak leading to $71 billion export loss

Wall Street Journal - MarketWatch | Feb. 23, 2009


Documents Reveal AIPAC Trade Secrets Leak Leading to $71 Billion Export Loss

WASHINGTON, Feb 23, 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ — Newly released Freedom of Information Act documents reveal details of trade secrets leaked during negotiations of America’s first trade agreement:

AIPAC, Espionage and the US-Israel Free Trade Agreement

In 1983 the Israeli Prime Minister and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbied the Reagan administration for preferential access to the US market. The US Trade Representative (USTR) commissioned the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to conduct an investigation to advise the President about the probable economic effect of providing duty free entry of Israeli imports on January 31, 1984.

The ITC compiled "business confidential" information and intellectual property solicited from US corporations and industry associations into a classified report for the negotiations. But on August 3, 1984 the Washington Post broke the news that the FBI was investigating how AIPAC obtained one of the fifteen numbered and tightly controlled copies of the classified report. The ITC later confirmed it was also obtained by the Israeli government.

Since the agreement was signed in 1985, US trade with Israel shifted from surplus to a cumulative $71 billion deficit (adjusted for inflation). The 2008 $7.8 billion deficit with Israel was equivalent to 126,000 US manufacturing related jobs. It is the only bilateral FTA producing multi-billion dollar losses to the US every year for the last decade but total losses are still unknown. According to IRmep director Grant F. Smith the agreement was the beginning of a chain reaction of intellectual property theft documented by industry associations and US counterintelligence agencies: "US corporations were betrayed by the leaks of their intellectual property during treaty negotiations in 1984. US pharmaceutical, defense and other industries continue to lose billions in revenue to Israeli copy-cat merchandise. We are only beginning to fully understand the larger impact of AIPAC and the Israeli government’s ongoing acquisition of classified US information."

ITC confirmed the 1984 report titled "Probable Economic Effect of Providing Duty Free Treatment for U.S. Imports from Israel, Investigation No. 332-180" is still classified and unavailable to American researchers performing damage assessments. However, related testimony, appeals, and corporate inquiries into the trade secret leak are now online at the Israel Lobby Archive at

The Israel Lobby Archive,, is a unit of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington. The Archive digitizes declassified documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act filings with law enforcement, intelligence, and trade agencies.

SOURCE: Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy,

 source: MarketWatch