Israeli import reform will reduce prices, ministry official says

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People shop at the Hadar Shopping Mall in Jerusalem on December 16, 2021.
Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90People shop at the Hadar Shopping Mall in Jerusalem on December 16, 2021.

The government had promised a series of measures to reduce the cost of living

A long-awaited relaxation of Israeli import controls, which will take effect next week, is expected to boost competition and lower prices, a government official said on Thursday, quoted by Reuters.

From June 1, a list of non-food items that have already been authorized for use in other developed countries will no longer require separate inspection upon arrival in Israel by local authorities.

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Similar reforms to reduce paperwork and costs for imports of cosmetics and drugstore items are expected in 2023.

"This is a significant and dramatic change. We are talking about tens of thousands of products such as toys, furniture, ceramics and electrical appliances," said Ron Malka, director general of Israel's Economy and Industry Ministry, on the sidelines of a conference on imports.

“We are going to see a lot more products and more importers, which will increase competition and therefore lower prices,” he added.

The government promised a series of measures to reduce the cost of living after taking office in June 2021.

The data shows that many imported products are brought into Israel by single importers - a situation that creates effective monopolies and keeps prices high.

Although lower than most Western countries due to stable energy prices, the inflation rate in Israel stands at 4 percent and the Bank of Israel has increased its inflation rate benchmark interest of 0.65 points over the past two months.

Malka argued that the Jewish state imposed its own stricter import standards after its founding in 1948 to protect its fledgling industries. 

"Today we feel more mature and can reduce norms and barriers," he said.

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