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Steinitz signs orders to cut import duties
By NADAV SHEMER
11/07/2012
One order, which comes into effect January 1, cancels the 8-percent to 12% customs duty on popular goods, including washing machines, vacuum cleaners.
 
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on Wednesday signed orders to reduce or cancel customs duties and purchase tax on hundreds of commodities, including electronics and textiles.

One order, which comes into effect January 1, cancels the 8-percent to 12% customs duty on popular goods, including washing machines, vacuum cleaners, microwaves, hair dryers, toasters, electric blankets, electric toothbrushes, home coffee makers, light bulbs, sunglasses, regular glasses, batteries and more. In addition, customs duties will be reduced by up to 10% on textile products.

The government agreed to these changes on October 30 last year as part of its adoption of recommendations made by the Trajtenberg Report on socioeconomic change, which was established following last summer’s public protests over the cost of living. In January, customs duties were reduced on types of products that are not manufactured in Israel.

Another order, which comes into effect October 1, cancels purchase tax on imported entertainment electronics products. Until now, imported television screens, stereo systems, overhead projectors and DVD players have included a purchase tax of 15%, while TV converter boxes and related products have included a 10% tax.

Lastly, Steinitz signed an order to adopt some of the Kedmi Committee’s recommendations on the food industry, which were submitted in January. The order outlines three measures:

• The gradual reduction of customs duties, over a four-year period, on products for which there is local competition but for which duties are relatively high, such as fresh beef.

• Immediate reduction of customs duties on fresh-food products that are not manufactured locally, such as specific types of fish, flowers, herbs and nuts, dried fruits, seeds and mushrooms.

• Differential reduction of duties, over a three-year period, on a range of industrial products, some of them raw materials used by local industry and some of them completed products used by consumers, such as starch, canned fish, halva, sweets, biscuits, ice cream, baking powder, bulgur and buckwheat.
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