(photo credit: OVEDC / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Anyone worried about the high cost of living might see their shopping bill get lower after Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon signed a reform that would remove tariffs for imported frozen fish, frozen vegetables and olive oil.
The decision comes as part of a joint effort between the Agriculture and Finance ministries to increase competition and bring food prices down altogether. Similar reforms have already been signed for imported beef, lamb, fresh vegetables and honey.
Kahlon indicated that the signing of these latest reforms are the beginning of more to come.
“We will continue to open up the market to imports and competition, and lower tariffs for the rest of the year,” he said Wednesday after signing the reform.
The exemptions are expected to begin next week and to remain in effect until July 15.
The plan allows the tariff-free import of 3,500 tons of tilapia and 500 tons of carp and gray mullet fish. The latter two are especially popular components of gefilte fish, which will likely see a rise in demand ahead of Passover. The exemption applies to 2,000 tons of imported olive oil, as well.
The ministries hope the plan will help reduce the price of fish by NIS 15 to NIS 20 per kg. and NIS 6 to NIS 8 for olive oil per kg. (1,000 ml.).
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The reform allows the tariff-free import of 10,000 tons of frozen potatoes, carrots, corn, beans and peas, which the ministries hope will bring down frozen produce prices by at least 10 percent.
Part of the reform would require Israeli farmers to sell potatoes, cabbage and carrots to distributors and stores for NIS 1.5 to NIS 2 per kg.
In return for the lowered market prices, Israeli farmers will get NIS 78 million worth of government compensation, of which NIS 37m. is to go to fish breeders. The 12 largest fisheries in the country are each to get NIS 2.5m. in compensation.
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