Israel eases import barriers for fruit and vegetables

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To fight massive price hikes ahead of the holidays, the Agriculture Ministry will allow duty-free tomato and cucumber imports.

Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel announced Monday an easing of import restrictions on fruits and vegetables a day after "Globes" reported a sharp 75% increase in their prices ahead of the Jewish holidays.

"Ariel instructed the Ministry of Agriculture to assure the Israeli consumer has a supply of food that is affordable, fresh, and of a high standard for the upcoming holiday season; he directed the office to allow the duty-free import of tomatoes and cucumbers from across the world, beyond the ongoing import from Jordan," the ministry wrote in the announcement.

"The duty-free import of vegetables from all countries is another method to avert price increases, a responsibility which Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel took on himself when he entered the job."

Ariel said, "Unfortunately, there has been a shortage of fruits and vegetables and prices have been rising since the heat wave. This is the reality we are trying to avert, especially ahead of the holidays, and that's why I directed the ministry officials to make it easier right away to intensively import fruits and vegetables from Jordan and other countries around the world. This is an attempt to overcome the shortage and bring the prices back down, all while avoiding harm to Israeli farmers and produce."

Furthermore, Ariel announced that, in another attempt to lower prices, he petitioned Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon and the Israel Tax Authority to temporarily permit the duty-free import of 10,000 live sheep and 1,000 tons of frozen lamb meat by the end of 2015.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 7, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

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