JERUSALEM (Aug. 18)
The Cabinet today approved an agreement with the United States to gradually lift all trade restrictions between the two countries over the next 10 years, a Cabinet statement said.
The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is the first of its kind between the U.S. and another country. It is expected to increase Israeli experts to the U.S. by $200 million in the next two years, according to Industry Ministry officials.
Before the agreement, Israel paid up to 40 percent customs on its imports to the U.S. and American luxury goods to Israel were subject to duties of up to 90 percent. U.S. officials said bilateral trade totalled $3.6 billion in 1984 and was expected to quadruple in a few years.
The FTA was signed in April by Industry Minister Ariel Sharon and U.S. Trade Representative William Brock. President Reagan said at the time that the agreement underscored the closeness of the U.S. and Israel and America’s commitment to Israel’s security and prosperity.