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Imports and Exports in Palestine

March 19, 1924
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That each year the value of the imports into Palestine far exceed the value of the exports is the story told by the figures issued by the office of the Chief Secretary of the Palestine Government. The imports for Palestine in 1920 amounted to 5,410,000 pounds, the exports to 1,361,000; 1921 imports 5,872,000 pounds, exports 1,499,000; 1922 imports 6,581,000 pounds, exports 1,542,000; 1923 imports 4,935,000 pounds, exports 1,789,000.

The situation is, however, by no means as bad as this might indicate. Most of the reasons for the preponderance of imports over exports is the artificial circulation of money that is not earned in Palestine. Large sums are sent to Palestine by various organizations having special interests there. The Zionist Executive alone received annually, from abroad, for purposes of education, colonization, etc., a sum which approximates $2,500,000. Christian religious institutions receive every year large sums for schools, convents and buildings of all kinds. Tourists in Palestine spend in the country amounts which total a considerable sum. All this money passes from hand to hand, and a large part of it is spent in buying goods of various kinds which appear in the statistics of imports without any corresponding entry for exports. In the same way, the British forces stationed in Palestine, to whom, 1,500,000 pounds in pay is sent annually, spend most of their money there, increasing the amount of imports, without producing exports.

Another thing that increases the amount of imports is the money spent for the development of home industries, natural resources and up-building. Most of the capital for this comes from abroad, chiefly in the form of goods. It is, therefore, absurd to say that because there is no corresponding exportation immediately that Palestine is the poorer to the extent of the amount of the importation. That a greater import capacity is not always a discouraging economic sign, is evidenced by the example of England where there is now and has always been a large excess of imports over exports. The difference there is accounted for by the value of interest paid on British capital invested abroad and by the earnings of British freighters.

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