US trade rep urges Israel to ease import rules

WASHINGTON — The US Trade Representative called on Israel to remove barriers to trade that favor Europe and its own commercial sector.
“Today, American companies continue to face challenges in their efforts to do business in Israel, often at a disadvantage to firms from Israel and other trading partners,” Michael Froman said Friday, addressing the annual US-Israel Business Initiative Meeting convened by the US Chamber of Commerce.
Froman said that the US-Israel Free Trade Agreement, negotiated 30 years ago and the first of its kind for the United States, is unique among US free trade agreements in that it allows Israel to impose tariffs and other barriers on exporting agricultural products.
“In agriculture, for example, Israel provides much greater market access to European firms than US firms,” Froman said. “For wine, Europe’s quota is three times larger than our own,” he said. “Similarly, in frozen vegetables, Europe’s quota is more than six times larger than our own. Why does that make sense?”
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