Israel to Permit Foreign Investors to Take out Unlimited Profits

The Israel Finance Ministry, in another liberalization of currency restrictions, has decided to allow foreign investors the right to take unlimited profits out of Israel, it was learned today. Regulations to that effect were expected to be published soon. Present rules permit investors to take out annually a maximum of profits of up to ten percent of their investments.

Finance Minister Levi Eshkol told businessmen from 15 countries this week-end that plans were underway to make Israel laws for the encouragement of private capital investment the most liberal in the world. Speaking at the closing session of the Second International Conference of Binational Chambers of Commerce, he said Israel expected such investment to have a major role in Israel’s development hereafter.

Israel, he stated, could now be fairly described as a “going concern.” He said national production was expanding steadily, with last year’s increase alone nine per cent. Unemployment, he reported, was being reduced in spite of increase in population and a reasonable stability of prices was being maintained. “While in the first decade, Israel’s main sources of capital were funds from Jewish Appeal campaigns, Israel bond drives, inter-governmental help and some private investments–all of these funds paving the way for private investment–it is anticipated now that private capital investment would play the outstanding part in Israel’s development,” Mr. Eshkol stated.

He said the Israel Government had proposed to the Knesset amendments to the investment bill to encourage private investment. The changes would liberalize tax concessions to investors and offer opportunities to take out profits in foreign currency. Such liberalization, he explained, was possible now that Israel had accumulated “relatively satisfactory” reserves in foreign currency which permitted Israel to pursue a policy of continuous liberalization in this area.

Mr. Eshkol cited some of the liberalization measures, including one which entitles foreign residents, paying in foreign currency for some types of stocks registered on the stock exchange, to receive either dividends or their capital if they sell them in foreign currency. He said such steps were “rather venturesome” for Israel’s young economy but that these actions would create better conditions for foreign capital investment. Nathan Straus 3rd, president of the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, was re-elected president of the international association.

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