JERUSALEM (Aug. 18)
The Ministry of Finance was under heavy fire today from Israel exporters, manufacturers and importers over far-reaching changes in customs regulations which increase some duties as much as 50 percent but which eliminate a whole series of special import levies. The new regulations establish import duties on a number of raw materials hitherto imported duty-free.
Finance Ministry experts insisted that the abolition of the special levies should, in practice, offset the increased customs duties and should result in a net customs increase of less than ten percent. They asserted that any price increases caused by the higher tariffs should be eased by the liberalization of import licensing permitting a larger volume of imports.
Critics of the Government action complained that the imposition of customs duties on raw materials would result in higher prices on finished goods for the Israel consumer. They warned that it would have a bad effect on Israel’s export markets.
Among the varied commodities affected by the new regulations were sheared wool, artificial silk, plastic yarns, coffee, edible oils, onions, typewriters and watch parts. Textile manufacturers, who held an emergency meeting this week-end to protest the new tariff regulations, asserted that the high customs duty on wool would destroy Israel’s export market for finished goods. There has been no increase in the price of foodstuffs affected by the new regulations and wholesale grocers said today that they would continue to make shipments at the old prices.