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Cablegate: Trade Development Agency Focuses On Information

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHJM #2072 3221136
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181136Z NOV 09
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6694
INFO RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 8692
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 5018
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS JERUSALEM 002072

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE PASS USAID FOR BORODIN, TDA FOR KRESS/BASTANI, OPIC
FOR DRUMHELLER/GORAVANCHI, NSC FOR KUMAR, JOINT STAFF FOR
LT GEN SELVA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ECON EINV ETRD KPAL KWBG IS
SUBJECT: TRADE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY FOCUSES ON INFORMATION
TECHNOLOGY, ENERGY SECTOR PROJECTS

REF: JERUSALEM 1463

1. (U) Summary. Trade Development Agency (TDA) Regional
Director Carl Kress visited Jerusalem and the West Bank
November 10-12 to follow up on pending grants for the MENA
Geothermal and Rawabi (reftel) projects, generate interest in
the TDA-sponsored May 2010 MENA Energy Conference in Cairo,
and explore potential projects in the energy and IT sectors.
End Summary.

Geothermal and Rawabi IT Projects On Track
-------------------------------------------

2. (SBU) TDA and MENA Geothermal are planning an early
December signing ceremony for a nearly $440,000 TDA grant
(pending congressional notification) for a feasibility study
for a geothermal heating and cooling system. The resulting
system design will be replicable in similar projects in the
West Bank and elsewhere in the Middle East, and is expected
to generate exports of US equipment.

3. (U) Work is also proceeding on schedule for two potential
projects at the Rawabi housing project, north of Ramallah.
TDA contractors started work in November on proposals for an
information technology network feasibility study and a
wastewater treatment study. Rawabi developer Bashar Masri
called TDA assistance the first tangible USG assistance
project at Rawabi.

Energy Sector Seeks U.S. Private Sector Investment
--------------------------------------------- -----

4. (SBU) Contacts from the Jerusalem District Electric
Company (JDECO) and the Palestinian Energy and Natural
Resources Authority noted the absence of U.S. commercial
involvement and USG assistance in the Palestinian energy
sector, and urged TDA to help encourage U.S. investment.
JDECO Chairman Youssef Dajani said that his priorities
include a solar plant in Jericho, "smart grid" technology,
energy efficiency through standardization of equipment, and
fraud detection. He estimated that JDECO, which distributes
electricity to the central West Bank, including Ramallah and
Jericho, loses USD 20 million annually due to fraud. The
problem, he said, is particularly acute in the 12 refugee
camps to which JDECO provides services. Dajani agreed to
work with TDA to develop proposals for presentation to U.S.
and regional companies at the TDA-sponsored May energy
conference in Cairo. He suggested including interconnection
with neighboring countries, power control at future
industrial zones, and methane gas generation.

GPC Reviewing Proposal for TDA Assistance
-----------------------------------------

5. (SBU) General Petroleum Corporation (GPC), a subsidiary of
the Palestinian Authority (PA) Ministry of Finance, is
reviewing the proposal for TDA-funded technical assistance
and an infrastructure study to upgrade its storage facilities
and distribution network. GPC Director General Amin Bashir
said he had briefed Prime Minister Fayyad (who, as Minister
of Finance, is responsible for GPC) on the assistance
proposal and received his support to proceed. He noted that
Fayyad has asked that the GPC submit its two-year plan in a
month's time, and he hoped to include the TDA proposal as a
component.

6. (U) Comment: Post is deeply appreciative of TDA's efforts
to support broader West Bank economic development
initiatives, and to generate concepts that complement ongoing
USAID, OPIC, and other USG programming. TDA's projects
continue to be well received by the PA and the local business
community.
MARCHESE

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