Israel is expecting to boost agricultural exports to Turkey by approximately $17 million this year as a result of a new agriculture agreement that will take effect March 1, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor said Tuesday.
While Israel and Turkey have a free trade agreement, which includes tax incentives on agricultural trade, the new deal marks the first update to that 10-year old agreement.
Beginning in March, Turkey will grant tax exemptions on Israeli dried vegetables, coffee, tomato powder, seasonings, eggs and other products. Among the Turkish products that will enter Israel tax-free are nuts, dried fruits, jams, beer and Raki (an alcoholic drink).
Trade between Israel and Turkey reached $2.1 billion in 2006 of which approximately 61% were imports to Israel.
The ministry said the new agreement should increase agricultural imports from Turkey by $13m. to around $80m. this year. Last year, Israel sold $14m. in agricultural produce to Turkey.
Separately, Israel is also confident of boosting its exports of spice products to the European Union, the US and Russia this year after Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon said that sector was showing among the strongest growth in the agricultural market.
"If 10 years ago, the seasoning exports were negligible with a few hundred tons a year, today Israel sends 30 different seasoning plants amounting to 7,000 tons a year to the EU, US and Russia," Simhon said during a visit to the Hishtil nursery near Afula, Israel's largest producer of plant products.
The minister said spice exports are expected to rise 10% to approximately $50m. in 2007.