Duties to Be Cut or Eliminated on Host of Consumer Products

Some cuts to take effect immediately, others will take as long as four years to give domestic manufacturers time to adjust.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz signed an order yesterday reducing customs and taxes on hundreds of consumer goods up to 15%. Duties on some foods that have been so high as to effectively block imports were cut sharply.

Some of the reductions go into effect immediately while others will take as long as four years to give domestic manufacturers time to adjust to the new import competition.

The move follows a package of duties reduction last January on products for which there is no domestically-made competition.

The new measures eliminate duties of between 8% and 12% on products such as clothes driers, vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens, fans, hairdriers, toasters, electric blankets and electric toothbrushes, among others.

Continuing the reduction in textile duties made in January, from January of next year, duties on apparel except underwear will be eliminated. From January 1, 2014, the rate on manufactured goods will be cut by 15%.

In addition, Steinitz signed an order canceling the purchase tax on imported electronics used for entertainment. Currently, a 15% rate is imposed on television sets, stereo systems, video equipment and DVD players.

In line with the recommendations of the government's Kedmi committee, duties on food products will be reduced gradually between now and 2015.

Products where duties have been especially high to protect the local industry, including fresh meat, lamb and other meat products, will be reduced in stages. Duties will be cut immediately on food products not produced locally, including various kinds of fish, spices, nuts, dried fruit and mushrooms.