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U.S. Competition Hits Israel Citrus Industry on European Markets

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Leaders of Israel’s citrus industry intend to enter into negotiations with representatives of the American citrus industry in the near future to attempt to come to some sort of working agreement on the matter of competition on the European market, it was announced here today.

The announcement was made by Mendes H. Sachs, a representative of the Citrus Marketing Board of Israel, at a luncheon of the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce. He pointed out that the American citrus industry relies almost entirely on the local market, with significant exports only to Canada. The exports to Europe, in the summer, largely do not coincide with Israel’s exports of citrus which take place mainly in the winter. However, some competition has been felt by Israeli exporters from American citrus fruit, particularly in Belgium and Switzerland, because of an export subsidy which the U.S. Government gives its citrus exporters.

“This subsidy seems to us to be not only unjustified and unnecessary, but also contradictory to the avowed policies of the U.S. Government,” Mr. Sachs said. He stressed the fact that the Israel citrus industry spends up to $8,000,000 annually on imported materials, primarily for packing purposes. Of this, about $1,500,000 is spent in the U.S. mainly for wrapping paper and chemicals, since the wooden boxes are much cheaper in Europe. However, if experiments to be made next season in using American corrugated cardboard boxes for packing prove successful, there might be some change in the situation, he indicated.

A report on U.S. equipment used in manufacturing, in Israel, of merchandise exported to the U.S., was made on behalf of the Carmel Wine Company by Miss Ziva Shapir, Israel’s Queen of the Wine Festival, who arrived here last week. She said that with the modern U.S. equipment, 50,000 bottles of wine are produced daily at the world-famous Rishon Wine Cellars. Part of this wine is being sold here, and Miss Shapir will visit Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington and other cities to stimulate consumer interest in Israeli wines.

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