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Israel Backs Kennedy Plan to Cut All Import Tariffs by 50 Percent

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Pinhas Sapir, Israel’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, conferred here today with Christian Herter, President Kennedy’s special representative to the current Ministerial Conference of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and endorsed Mr. Kennedy’s plan for cutting all import duties by 50 percent, Mr. Kennedy’s plan for thus reducing world trade barriers is one of the major items before the current GATT conference here, being attended by 76 ministers from 26 countries.

Mr. Sapir made Israel’s views on the issue known in a major address to the conference this weekend, when he told the ministers: “What is needed is the widest possible cuts in the shortest possible time. We ourselves are concerned about having our main agricultural item–citrus fruit–included in the tariff reductions. Without this, without a wide range of reductions on industrial manufactured goods and chemicals, we feel that the term across-the-board reduction is meaningless.”

“We greatly welcome the initiative taken by President Kennedy and his Administration in drawing the practical conclusions resulting from the success of the progressive dismantling of organs barriers within Europe,” said Mr. Sapir. After referring to Israel’s economic difficulties, he stated: “We look for new markets in Africa, Asia, Australia, Central and South America. But we have to maintain and expand our exports to our traditional markets of Europe and North America. It is essential that those countries from which capital goods for the establishment of industry were bought take some responsibility for allowing fair army of the products made from these capital goods.”

SAPIR CONFERS WITH GERMAN MINISTER ON ISRAEL’S ROLE IN EUROMART

Eariler, this weekend, Mr. Sapir and the members of his delegation held a long conference with Dr. Ludwig Erbard, West German Minister of Economics and the man designated as the possible successor to Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. A spokesman for Israel’s delegation called the meeting “very important.”

It was indicated that the principal subject of the talks was Israel’s situation with respect to the six-nation European Economic Community, particularly in connection with the forth-coming renewal of talks between Israel and European Common Market, scheduled to start in Brassels on May 27.

Other members of the Israeli delegation meeting with Dr. Erhard were Ambassador Marke Barter, Israel’s permanent representative at Geneva; and Felix Shinnar, head of the Israel Mission at Cologne. Other high-ranking West German officials took part in the talks.

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