Money Shekels bills 521.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Excessive taxation is the reason Israeli consumers pay a high price for their
food products, food importers said Monday. Participants at a meeting in Tel
Aviv, which was hosted by the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, called
on the government to open up the market to imports.
Yossi Williger presented canned tuna and sardines as examples of products for
which Israeli’s were paying too much, due to what he called excessive import
taxes. History shows that opening up specific markets to imports brings down
prices, he said, adding: “Since the pasta market was opened to unrestricted
importations, the competition has grown and pasta prices have dropped
dramatically, to the joy of consumers.”
Canned fish, Williger said, “is
sold around the world at a cost of 30 to 40 percent less than in it is in
A basic comparison shows that the average price of a can of tuna
costs NIS 5.5 in Israel, while an equivalent can of tuna is sold at $1.10 in
England [NIS 3.80] and only $1 [NIS 3.45] in the United
According to Ido Hamama of Hamama Meir Trading, which imports
rice, coffee and dried fruits, when stamp duties were imposed 20 years ago, the
proceeds for farmers were fundamentally different from today, when they benefit
from new technology and their profits are higher.
“Today the dividends on
specific products have risen tenfold, and there is no longer a reason to protect
them with old and excessive taxes,” he said.
Hamama said the import duty
on chickpeas is NIS 1,100 per ton, which adds 30% to the shelf price, while the
duty on peanuts is NIS 3,100 per ton, adding an additional 50% to the
“Weak government policy” had brought about the price rise, Chambers
of Commerce President Uriel Lynn said. He recommended that protectionist duties
on the importation of various food products be dropped, including: 190% tax on
fresh beef; 170% tax on chicken meat; 153% tax on milk and dairy cream; and 140%
tax on butter.
Lynn also said removing the Value Added Tax on these same
products would not have the same desired result because it would only lead to
calls for other products to be exempted from VAT.