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European Trade Officials Not Surprised by Israeli Devaluation

Common Market officials declared here today that they “were not surprised” by Israel’s decision to devaluate although they saw “no real reasons for doing so.” These officials told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that, for some time now, they had felt that Israel was waiting for the first available opportunity in order to devaluate its currency. They said, however, that the opportunity chosen “does not seem to be logical” as most of Israel’s imports are from the United States (payable in devaluated dollars) while its exports are towards strong-currency European countries. French and German trade officials said here today that Israel has not actually suffered from the dollar devaluation and that its decision is mainly “preventive.” General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) officials, who are currently preparing for a general conference on the subject of tariff barriers which will open on Tuesday in Geneva, said that Israel’s decision to increase taxes on imports will be discussed at the conference. “It is to be expected that a number of countries will find the Israeli decision to the contrary of the GATT agreements,” these sources said.

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