Minister of the Economy Eli Cohen has signed a personal imports ordinance that provides relaxations for the import of consumer goods and sets out regulations designed to make the process easier. In the past two weeks, online trading giant Amazon has started to set up a local online trading platform in Israel, but many Israelis do their shopping on foreign websites, an area that up to now has not been fully regulated. The new ordinance shortens the time it will take to obtain the necessary permits, setting a maximum time limit, and sets out the quantities of goods that can be brought into Israel as personal imports.
Under the ordinance, goods for personal use may be imported up to a limit of five units or $1,000. The goods in question are nutrition supplements, personal care and cosmetic products, vehicle parts and accessories such as an infant car seat, vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, irons, dishwashers, ovens, computers, televisions, printers, and similar items.
In the case of goods for which a permit is required, the maximum time for issuing it will be two days, except for telecommunications and transportation products, for which the maximum time will be fourteen days, falling to five days after two years.
Imports for the purposes of building or renovating a home will be permitted in greater quantities, provided that the importer proves that the imports are for one of these purposes.
The Ministry of the Economy presented statistics today based on a 2017 report by the Bank of Israel showing that in sectors exposed to personal imports, prices in Israel fell substantially in the period 2011-2017. In personal care products and cosmetics, prices fell by nearly 20%; in audio and video systems the decline was more than 50%; in clothing and footwear it was 10%; and in furniture and domestic appliances it was nearly 15%.
According to the ministry, the report shows that, despite the substantial effect of personal imports on prices, they represent only a small proportion of monthly household spending, amounting to an average of NIS 104, even after growth of 16% between 2011 and 2015.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 13, 2019
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