Israel's Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon has extended a range of customs duties exemptions ranging between 6% and 15% that were introduced last year on items including clothing, shoes, smartphones, lenses and baby products.
Kahlon said, "We have proved over the past two years that lowering customs duties cuts the prices of products. Everywhere that we see unjustified price rises, we will lower customs duties and increase competition in the market. Despite the major pressure exerted on us to restore customs duties and raise taxes, we will continue to cancel customs duty orders to help consumers. Let's be clear" everybody who raises prices for consumers that is unjustified will very quickly regret it."
Kahlon has resisted major pressure from the local textiles industry, which insists that the customs duties cuts are pricing them out of business.
At the same time, Kahlon has set up a committee to looking into the rising cost of living, which will be headed by former accountant General Yaron Zelika. Kahlon is also looking into ways to lower the planned 8% rise in electricity prices from January 1st as well as a request from bakeries to raise the government controlled price of bread by 3.4%.
Last week "Globes" revealed that nine out of Israel's ten largest food and household goods manufacturers and distributors had raised their prices during 2018.
In response to all these price rises, Israel saw its first Parisian style yellow vests demonstration on Friday, when an estimated 1,000 protestors blocked the junction at Tel Aviv's Azrieli Center. Israel Police said that 10 protestors were arrested for violating public order and attacking police.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 16, 2018
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