Finance Minister Moshe Kachlon signed orders this week to reduce the import duty on a variety of food products – chief among them olives, which are currently in short supply in Israel.
The olives in question are oil-grade olives, and the shortage is temporary, due to a reduction in the harvest because of Shemittah, which ended on Rosh Hashanah. The government will suspend import duties on 2,000 tons of olives during the coming year. The olives can be imported from anywhere, but must pass Agriculture Ministry inspections.
The past summer in Israel was particularly hot, so there was a reduction of yields of raw milk from cows in Israel, which has led to a shortage of butter. The order signed by Kachlon allows for the tax-free import of 700 tons of butter for industrial purposes, meaning they will not be sold in retail stores to consumers, so as not to impact local manufacturers. The hot weather also had a negative impact on egg production, and in order to keep prices stable, the order allows for the tax-free import of 350,000 tons of eggs.
Other items to be imported under the same scheme include potatoes for industrial production (6,000 tons) and pecans (450 tons). In addition, the import duty on kiwis from abroad will be reduced to one shekel, which is expected to make that fruit significantly cheaper.