JERUSALEM (Apr. 26)
The Israel Government announced officially today that import licenses will be abolished on June 1 for products which accounted for one-fourth of all Israeli imports during 1961. It was also announced that the Ministry of Commerce was preparing another list to free, in the near future, an additional 25 percent of imports now requiring licenses.
The import commodities to be made license-free on June 1, which last year totalled some $120, 000, 000 in value, are those which do not compete with local manufacture. They include foods, chemicals, timber, metals, machinery, quarry products and transport equipment.
Wheat, sugar and soya beans, hitherto imported by the Government, will also be placed on the free list but they will remain subject to some regulations to assure adequate quantities of imports to keep down shipping costs. In the case of sugar, dealers must buy 40 percent of their orders from local manufacturers. Tea and medical imports must comply with health and packing regulations but otherwise will not require licenses.
Simultaneously with the liberalization, the Commerce Ministry plans to lower tariffs progressively to expose Israeli manufacturers to the competition of imports. It was indicated that Israeli firms unable to meet competition without the benefit of protective tariffs will have no option but to liquidate in line with the Ministry’s plans to normalize the Israeli economy.
Officials commented that some Israeli enterprises were able, thanks to the absence of competing imports, to produce at a nine to 15-pound per dollar ratio. If they hope to remain in business hereafter, it was indicated, they will have to trim casts by greater efficiency.