Import of fresh and processed food products to Israel
Goods can be legally imported into Israel due to the Free Import Order, as determined by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor and the Customs Tariff Order, as determined by the Tax Authority.
The Free Import Order determines which certificates should be submitted by the importer to the Tax Authority, in order to import specific goods.
The Customs Tariff Order states the required customs rate and/or purchase tax for each type of merchandise.
There are few bodies, in the framework of the Ministry of Agriculture, that handle import certificates:
· The Foreign Trade Center - reduced-custom-tax quotas (In Hebrew), pesticides for agriculture use, etc.
· Flora Protection Services - Issuing import certificates for goods of plant-origin. (In Hebrew)
· Veterinary Services - Issuing import certificates for goods of animal-origin (In Hebrew).
· The Automation and Technology Division - Issuing import certificates for agricultural machinery and tractors (In Hebrew).
· The Feed Control Division of the Flora Protection Services - Issuing import certificates for all goods related to animal foodstuff.
Import policy of fresh and processed agricultural produce
The import policy is based on the following considerations and factors:
· Creating a balance between the need to protect local production and the need to allow import in a setting of fair competition, while securing reasonable prices for consumers.
· Providing custom-tax solution for the problem of “price reduction” in import declarations, by using specific duty rates (payment by weight) instead of percentage of value rates.
· Solution of ad-hoc problems that are mostly related to a potential shortage of certain food products, through a temporary tax reduction.
· Equalizing the custom taxes of similar products which are classified under different categories in the Customs Tariff Order.
Distribution of import quotas, for the implementation of trade agreements
The Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor distribute the import quotas that are stated in the trade agreements, in accordance with the products that are included in it.
The distribution methods and quota specifications shall be announced as described below:
Lottery quotas - the quotas to be distributed through lottery are announced in October and the lottery takes place during November. The import licenses shall be valid as of the beginning of the year.
“First come, first served” quota - A list of products the quotas of which are based on the “first come first served” method shall be published during December. An importer who fulfills the prerequisite conditions is entitled to receive an import license of a certain extent, in accordance with the terms that were published. The import licenses will be valid as of the beginning of the year.