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Import regulations and customs duties  - Distribution - Transportation of goods - Standards - Patents and brands

Import regulations and customs duties

Most of the products can be freely imported in Israel, except for certain farm products that have to be in accordance with strict sanitary rules. For these products, some licenses or certificates are required in order to enter the territory and be freely marketed.
Documentary requirements such as invoices (in triplicate) and the bill of lading are very important. Besides, requirements in terms of marking and labelling should not be ignored and must be carefully checked with the importer before any dispatch. In any case, a Pro forma must be used, indicating the country of origin, name and details of the producer, name and details of the importer, composition, weight and volume. These requirements are defined by the Ministry of Health, Control of the food Directorate.
Finally, it should be pointed out that imports originating from countries that restrict or forbid imports from Israel are subject to a particular supervision.


Customs duties
Israel applies the Harmonised Customs System, and therefore uses a calculation Ad valorem on the CIF value of the goods to determine the value of customs duty.




The Business to Consumer (B to C) market
Some specialised hypermarkets and discount-stores appeared in Israel. In the food sector, the distribution network consists of supermarkets, specialised shops and open-air markets. In 1999, more than 50% of the 7.5 billions USD that were dedicated to the purchase of food in retail shops was spent in supermarkets. There are 360 supermarkets in Israel, that belong to three big chains: Super-ground and Blue Square having 200 establishments and controlling 50 % of the sales, and Co-op Tzafon dealing in stores.

The Business to Business (B to B) market
Israel is an interesting market for foreign companies and is so for different reasons. The Israeli government offers stimulating initiatives to the foreign investors and has a competent and innovative labour force. Furthermore, immigration from the former Soviet Union, which goes on even now, inflates the demand for products imported on behalf of the consumers.


Transportation of goods

By road
The Israeli road network consists in 16,000 km of urban /interurban roads and highways. The Israeli Ministry of Transport is planning to prolong and modernize the network in a period of 10 years.

By rail
The rail network is only 530 km long, of which 120 km are double ways. The whole rail network is in the course of being renovated, thanks to the support of the Ports and Railroads Authority, a branch of the Ministry of Infrastructure and national company, Israel Railways.
Both entities worked on a plan named Railway on 2000 - over the last 10 years, especially planning the construction and the renovation of the Tel Aviv / Rosh-Ha ayin, Tel Aviv / BeerSheva, Lod / Rehovot and Tel Aviv / Rishon LeZion connections.
In 1998 , 9 million tons of freight were carried by Railways.

By sea
The main ports are Haifa in the South of the country which carried 13,5 million tons of freight in 1996, Ashdod on the Mediterranean Sea, in the South of Tel Aviv, with 15,9 million tons of freight in 1996 and Eilat on the Red Sea with 1,6 million tons of freight in 1996.
In 1999, 35 million tons of freight were carried by sea.
In the same way as for rail transport, a modernisation plan was organised by the Ports and Railroads Authority to open the ports of Haifa and Ashdod to the international freight more effectively.

By air
The unique international airport is Ben Gurion's airport, near Tel Aviv. The secondary airports are those of Eilat and Jerusalem.
The airline company is El Al. In 1998, the company transported 281 million tons of freight.
In 1999, 305 million tons of freight was carried through Ben Gurion's airport, which is an increase of 6.4 % as compared to the previous year.


The Standarts Institution of Israel (SII) is responsible for the approval of products. European standards are not automatically validated.
The ISO 9000 standard, although optional, is a factor of competitiveness. The ISO 14 000 standard is generally used by Israel for export to Europe and the United States.

Patents and brands

Israel signed the agreement of Paris concerning the protection of industrial property and the agreement which establishes the World Intellectual property Organization(WIPO). They signed the European agreement on the International Classification of Patents and the European Agreement on patents formalities, and also the universal agreement of copyrights and the agreement of Lisbon. In every case, it's better to make sure that the foreign patents are recorded in Israel.


Last modified in 2006 - ongoing update
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