The Jerusalem Post
Finance, Economy ministries mull plan to boost imports, lower prices
Israel is going to permit more imports in order to reduce the cost of living, according to a plan released by the Finance and Economy Ministries Thursday.
The plan, included in the Economic Arrangements law that will accompany the 2021-2022 budget, is expected to reduce the regulatory burden on importers, especially small and medium-sized ones. Competition will increase, leading prices to drop and saving the economy about NIS 5 billion. The range of products to be marketed in the country will also expand significantly, the ministries said.
“The plan is a significant step in placing Israel alongside the developed countries with regard to legal import requirements and implements the OECD recommendation for the State of Israel,” the announcement stated.
The framework is based on Switzerland’s “Cassis-De-Dijon” reform in 2010 designed to increase the volume of imports to Switzerland and bring down prices. The guidelines for the plan were outlined as early as 2014 in the recommendations of the Lang Committee, which were anchored in a government decision to increase competition and streamline the regulatory
processes in the field of imports.
The plan outlines principles for establishing regulation on the import of products and removing trade barriers, while reducing Israel’s need to conduct its own testing and regulatory process for products that have been approved elsewhere.
Parallel import routes will also be allowed to increase competition between importers for existing products in the market, and to encourage the entry of small importers for products with exclusive representation here.
“Opening the market to imports and competition is the first step in the basket of solutions I promote to address the cost of living in Israel,” said Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman. “There is no reason why a product approved for use in the United States and Europe will require different approvals and standards in Israel. It’s time to ease and simplify the processes, while acting with the necessary responsibility to enable businesses and consumers to enjoy a wider range of products at competitive prices. I thank the Minister of Economy and Industry for the fruitful cooperation and deep understanding of the need for this important step.