Gov’t to reform import of cars

Zelekha Committee amkes recommendations on car imports that will boos competition.

Brazilian mini-car can run on both gasoline, ethanol 390 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout)
Brazilian mini-car can run on both gasoline, ethanol 390
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout)
The Zelekha Committee’s recommendations on car imports will boost competition in the motor-vehicle market, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said Thursday.
“This is one area that Israelis deal with throughout their lives. Spending on cars is the second-largest expense by Israelis,” he said at a press conference to announce that he has accepted the principles of the report by the public committee to increase competition in the motor-vehicles market, chaired by Prof. Yaron Zelekha.
“From the moment I took up the post, I thought it necessary to increase competition in the motor-vehicle market,” Katz said. “As I read the drafts and the final report, I felt that very thorough work was done here, with significant recommendations.”
“The relevant officials at the Finance Ministry have told me they accept the main points of the report,” he said. “There are minor disagreements on some items.”
Katz said he would set up an interministerial team to implement the Zelekha Committee’s recommendations.
The team will include representatives of the Transportation Ministry, the Finance Ministry’s Budget Department and the Antitrust Authority. A representative from the Israel Tax Authority will also participate to broaden the recommendations and formulate supplementary measures to increase competition in the motor-vehicle market. The team is due to submit to Katz within 60 days a detailed work plan for implementing the recommendations.
Katz said implementation of the recommendations “will bring about the reduction in car prices and increase the range of models available for importing into Israel.”
Zelekha said: “I have never encountered such a noncompetitive market in which a few dozen big businesses created a cartel and exploited the consumer.
As a result, the importers and manufacturers enjoyed scandalous profit margins. It’s a shame and disgrace that the market was not overhauled.”
He said he hoped the privately owned media would be able to overcome massive advertising by the importers that seeks to thwart the reform.
“Israel’s media have played a key but negative role in that Israel is ranked 81st in the world in terms of competitiveness and is the poorest country in the West,” Zelekha said.