Israelis shopping at a mall
Israelis will pay more for their clothes. Photo by Ofer Vaknin
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Compromise in apparel duties will cost consumers

A compromise to equalize customs on fabrics and clothing emerged at a session of the Knesset Finance Committee session on Monday in a move that could raise the price of apparel for consumers. Under the compromise hammered out between local fabric makers and clothing importers, duties on both categories of goods would be set at 6%. For clothing importers, that would mean an added cost since the 12% duty on clothing was scrapped at the beginning of the year. For fabric importers, it would represent a savings, as fabric had still been subject to the 12% rate. Yoram Dar, who chairs the chain store division of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, called the proposed change a “major disappointment for the broader public,” saying that clothing retailers had been passing the 12% reduction in duties on to the consumer. ‏(Ora Coren‏)

Israel allows Royal Jordanian to add 15th weekly flight

The Civil Aviation Authority on Monday gave Royal Jordanian Airlines the go-ahead to add a weekly flight to Israel to its schedule, bringing the number to 15. The new outbound service will start on June 5, with a departure from Ben-Gurion International Airport at 10:10 P.M. and arrival in Amman at 10:55 P.M. The airline’s representative in Israel, Dvora Bruchstein, said the additional service is scheduled to provide connections for passengers bound for Bangkok and Hong Kong via Amman, and also provides inbound return connections for passengers returning to Israel via Amman from New York’s Kennedy Airport and Europe. The aviation treaty between Israel and Jordan imposes ceilings on traffic on the Tel Aviv-Amman route for Royal Jordanian and Israeli carriers Israir and Arkia. ‏(Zohar Blumenkrantz‏)

VC investment in high-tech edged down in first quarter

Venture capital investment in Israeli high-tech companies fell slightly in the first quarter from the same time last year, the IVC OnLine-KPMG survey reported on Monday. For the three months, 169 high-tech and start-up firms raised $474 million from VC funds, a decline of 2% over first-quarter 2012 and 4% less than the fourth quarter of 2012. Of the first quarter total, 77% came via financing rounds that included venture capital funds. The average amount raised per firm was $2.8 million, although 17 firms raised more than $10 million. Israeli venture capital funds expanded their activity during the quarter, investing $147 million, 18% more than a year ago. IVC CEO Kobi Simana said the jump is a direct result of capital that the funds themselves had raised in the past year. ‏(Inbal Orpaz‏)