Don't Expect More Imported Yellow Cheese Any Time Soon

Experts on Israeli trade relations with U.S. and EU say Israeli cheese will not be open to competition in the near future; Dairy Board wants to expose Tnuva yellow cheese to competition.

The Dairy Board may have recommended that Israeli yellow cheese should be more exposed to exports, but don't hold your breath: It won't happen for years, say experts on Israeli trade relations with the European Union and U.S.

cheese - Haaretz - July 20 2011

The Dairy Board's goal is to expose Tnuva yellow cheese to competition.

The board also suggested that customs on cheese be lowered, in keeping with Israel's agreement with the World Trade Organization. Under that agreement, Israel imports 1,080 tons of yellow cheese a year at discounted import taxes of 50%. The Dairy Board feels that tax should be eliminated entirely while leaving the quota as is.

Israel does have agreements in place to import a certain amount of cheese from the European Union and U.S. without charging customs. The Dairy Board made no recommendation to change these quotas.

In other words, if the board's recommendations are executed, Israel would have the same quantity of imported cheese, but a larger proportion would be duty-free.

Experts say the recommendation is unlikely to have impact unless quotas are changed. A source at the Industry Ministry told TheMarker yesterday that the intention is to increase quotas of duty-free cheeses as much as fivefold, under new agreements signed with the EU and U.S.