EU – Israel Agreement concerning liberalization measures on agricultural and processed agricultural products

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The agreement, which takes effect on 1 January 2010, is expected to lead to liberalization of approximately 95% in trade of processed agricultural products between Israel and the EU and to significantly increase the competitiveness of the Israeli food industry exports to Europ.

Negotiations led by the Foreign Trade Administration of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor along with the Ministry of Agriculture, resulted in an historic agreement in the field of agriculture and processed foods between Israel and the European Union. This agreement is part of an overall policy of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor to help traditional industries to expand their exports significantly by achieving better legal infrastructure and increasing employment in the periphery.

Boaz Hirsh, the Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, reports that “the agreement was reached after lengthy negotiations that ended with very satisfying results. Unlike previous agreements with the European Union in the field, this agreement marked tendency towards the Israeli side and we expect that it will change the face of trade with EU food sector in the coming years “.

The new agreement includes many benefits and enables a significant extension of the range of food products exported to the EU without restrictions. Food products such as chocolate, bakery products, pasta, coffee, fruit juices bases, honey and fresh salads, which to date had a limited access to European markets due to high levies or limited quotas, will enjoy an exemption from customs duties and other levies. Other benefits will be applied to various products.

European market is the primary market for the Israeli processed food industry: the origin of 50% of total food imports to Israel is the European Union and 44% of total exports sector is facing EU markets, worth $ 650 million.

According to Hirsch, it is estimated that the Israeli food companies will significantly increase the sales to the European market, which numbers about 500 million consumers. In addition, small and medium food manufacturers who did not export up until now due to the levies, will be able to begin export in light of the improved terms of trade.

The agreement shall enter into force on 1st January 2010. Notification of the distribution of quotas for the coming year will be posted soon.

To read the agreement click here.