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Israel, Eec in Last Round of Talks

The last round of negotiations between the European Economic Community (EEC) and five Mediterranean countries regarding the conclusion of new accords of commerce and cooperation will begin here tomorrow with Israel. The negotiations are expected to last two days. The Israeli delegation is headed by Ambassador Moshe Alon and includes Avraham Agmon, director general of the Finance Ministry, and Moshe Mandelbaum, director general of the Commerce and Industry Ministry.

Israel, like Morocco, Tunisia and Spain, has already concluded preferential trade agreements with the Common Market. These agreements are expected to be widened, the eventual goal being a zone of free exchange between these countries and the EEC.

The first round of negotiations took place Oct. 1973 but little progress was achieved during those talks. The five Mediterranean countries wanted certain concessions on which the Foreign Ministers of the EEC countries, preoccupied with the oil crisis, were unable to agree. The main stumbling block until now has been to find an agreement compatible with the different needs and steps of development of the European framework.

MAY AGREE TO SOME ISRAELI DEMANDS

Israel, for example, is demanding that it be accorded better tariff concessions for a wider range of agricultural exports. Israel also wants a slower time-table for the lowering of its import restrictions on manufactured products of the nine Common Market countries. Israel is also Instating that the final agreement include a clause concerning scientific and technological cooperation.

Informed sources in Brussels indicate that the Common Market Commission is prepared to give in to certain Israeli demands. The Commission will thus propose that Israel lower its custom restrictions for 60 percent of EEC industrial imports by 1980 at the latest, and abolish them completely by 1985. This time-table is considerably more flexible than had originally been forecast.

Brussels also appears ready to grant better conditions regarding the import of Israel’s agricultural products, perhaps going as far as to provide preferential treatment for some of them. Israel is particularly anxious to obtain the same treatment for its agricultural exports especially its citrus fruits, as the EEC countries themselves enjoy within the Common. Market community. If an agreement can be concluded this week in Brussels, it will probably go into effect Jan. 1975.

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