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Israeli Economy Grows 7 Percent, One of Highest Rates in the World

The Israeli economy grew by 7 percent in 1994, representing one of the highest growth rates in the world, according to preliminary figures released this week by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

On the negative side, inflation for the year topped 14 percent, substantially higher than the target set at the beginning of 1994 by the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Israel.

The Finance Ministry is forecasting an annual growth rate of 5 percent in the coming year.

In other economic news, Israel has announced it will eliminate all remaining customs on U.S. imports starting Jan. 1. The move marks the final phase of a free trade agreement signed by Israel and the United States in 1985.

The action will eliminate duties of some 10 to 20 percent on refrigerators, telephones, air conditioners and other items.

Israeli Customs Authority spokeswoman Idit Lev-Zrahia said the move is expected to increase Israeli imports from the United States, which totaled roughly $3.6 billion in 1993 and is expected to total $3.8 billion in 1994.

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