BRUSSELS (Jul. 29)
Following 18 long months of hard bargaining among themselves, the nine foreign ministers of the European Economic Community (EEC) meeting here last week fully have agreed upon a “package” of tariff concessions the community is prepared to offer the countries bordering the Mediterranean. The “package” includes several tariff reductions in favor of Israel as well as concessions in other areas.
The European commission will be charged with negotiating the proposals with the concerned countries next Sept. The trade advantages the EEC is prepared to offer Israel center around four points:
The tariff reduction on Israeli citrus fruit and fruit used in canning will be increased from 40 percent to 80 percent; the tariff reduction on Israeli fruit Juices will be increased from 60 percent to 70 percent. These increased tariff reductions would encourage the, sale of these Israel products in the Common Market countries and, at the same time, stimulate their production in Israel.
As for Common Market products entering Israel, the European Community is willing to let Israel maintain its import duties on these products four years longer than originally planned, that is, until 1978 instead of 1974. This would protect and stimulate the Israeli domestic market by encouraging Israelis to buy Israeli products.
ONE PROPOSAL NOT FAVORABLE
Israel will also be able to protect any new industries it may develop between now and 1985 under the terms of the EEC trade plan. The EEC is willing to grant Israel the right to impose import duties on 10 percent of Common Market products entering Israeli which are also being produced by new Israeli industries.
The EEC trade package includes at least one proposal which is not in Israel’s favor. The Jewish State together with Spain will not benefit from the financial assistance the nine foreign ministers have agreed to offer some of the Mediterranean countries.
However, the positive aspects of the trade proposals appear to outweigh the negative. And in the words of Israeli circles in Brussels, they constitute a major step forward. These circles add, however, that “certain problems will have to be worked out in September” between the Israeli and EEC delegations.