PARIS (Nov. 25)
Israeli Commerce Minister Haim Zadok arrived in Paris today to push Israel’s campaign against European Common Market plans to place a 20 percent higher consumer price on Israeli oranges exported to Euromart countries. The plan is scheduled to go into effect on December 10, if the decision will not be reversed. The sakes for Israel are substantial, Israeli sources stressed. About 40 percent of Israel’s total exports to the Euromart countries consists of citrus fruits.
Mr. Zadok met today with French Foreign Minister Maurice Couve de Murville to press Israel’s case for French support for reversal of the surcharge plan. It was understood that while the French Foreign Minister showed great “understanding” for Israel’s position in the 30-minute meeting, there was no more than “a glimmer of hope” to avert the decision before the December 10 deadline.
The Israeli Minister received virtually the same reaction in his talk yesterday in Brussels with Belgian Vice-Premier for Economic Affairs A. Spinoy. After that meeting, Mr. Zadok told a press conference at the Israel Embassy in Brussels that the plan was adverse to the interests of countries like Israel which supply 93 percent of the citrus sold in Euromart countries, compared with Italy’s seven percent.
The “reference price” plan was adopted at the urging of Italy and approved at a European Economic Community Ministers’ Council meeting which France did not attend. France has been boycotting the Euromart central bodies for several months for reasons unrelated to the citrus fruit issue.
REPRISAL BY ISRAEL POSSIBLE IF EUROMART DECISION BECOMES FFECTIVE
After the Murville meeting, Mr. Zadok told the press that he had met with great understanding and sympathy for Israel’s position in his meetings with the foreign ministers of three of the Euromart countries–Holland, Luxemburg and France. He was scheduled to confer in Bonn tomorrow with West German Foreign Minister Gerhard Schroeder and Economics Minister Dr. Kurt Schmucker, and on Saturday he will fly to Rome for conferences with the Italian Foreign Minister and other senior Italian officials.
It was pointed out that because of procedural reasons, the EEC commission’s hands are tied and that there was little hope left to change the ruling before France decides to resume its place in the Ministers’ Council, when and if it decides to do so. This French move was not expected to take place, however, before the forthcoming Presidential election on December 5.
Mr. Zadok told the press here, after his talk with the French Foreign Minister, that the Israeli Government might have to decide whether to take some form of reprisal action against the EEC if the price plan goes through but that such a decision would take place only after his return to Israel.