BRUSSELS (May. 11)
Israel’s Foreign Minister Yigal Allon, and the current president of the Ministerial Council of the European Economic Community, Ireland’s Foreign Minister Garrett Fitzgerald, signed here today Israel’s economic incorporation treaty with the nine-states Community. The treaty, which will be enforced as of July 1, was also signed by Commission President Francois-Xavier Ortoli.
Allon said at the ceremony, which took place at the Val Duchesse Palace near Brussels, that the agreement has not only economic but also great political importance. He said: “Europe is paving the way to a new kind of cooperation which, we believe, may provide a model for regional cooperation in our area. It may seem utopian today, but we are sure that the day will come when the states of the Middle East will live in peace, will trade freely with each other and exchange their knowledge and acknowledge the mutual advantage of all their populations.”
The Israeli Foreign Minister said that, in the Middle East, as in Europe, economic integration could well be an important element of peaceful coexistence. The agreement provides for the complete abolition of all customs duties and other forms of taxation on Israeli exports, industrial and agricultural, to the Community.
European customs will drop as of July 1 by between 40 to 60 percent, according to the product, and will be completely cancelled by July 1, 1977. Certain restrictions still exist on a number of products, including citrus derivatives, at Italy’s demand.
The EEC is expected to sign a similar agreement with the North African countries and is expected to start negotiations with four Arab states in the Middle East; Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, before summer. The EEC Council decided in July 1974 to establish a Mediterranean Free. Trade Area and adopt a global approach to the countries around that sea.