Textile Industries’ Subsidies to Be Cut, Government Seeking Manpower Shift

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced yesterday that it will cut Government subsidies to the textile and related industries so that additional manpower will become available to more competitive export industries. The announcement said that protective tariffs on some textile items will be reduced by 10 to 30 percent beginning next January.

The move reflected the resurgence of employment opportunities in Israel since the June, 1967 Six-Day War which has created a serious manpower shortage. It is expected that workers now employed in the textile industry will be retrained for jobs in electronics and fertilizer plants, which can compete on the international market with few or no subsidies. Prior to the war, when serious unemployment existed, the textile industry was a major source of jobs and warranted Government protection as did a number of other Israeli industries, which otherwise could not maintain favorable prices in face of foreign competition. The reduction of tariffs is expected to force textile manufacturers to introduce greater automation to increase output. The measure does not affect the manufacture of fashionable clothing and beach-wear, a field in which Israel can hold its own abroad with quality and styling.

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