In Israel, a system of administrative requirements and restrictions on imports is still being imposed. These restrictions are referred to as non-tariff barriers and are mainly implemented in the following ways:
- Import License - Import licenses are presently required for some of the goods imported to Israel. The competent authority to grant import licenses is in most cases the Ministry of Industry & Trade.
An import license is required largely for the following reasons:
- Restrictions on imports from certain countries which ban or restrict imports from Israel
- Protection of local production.
- Consumer protection and to safeguard public safety and health.
- Distribution of import quotas with preferred customs rates. An importer applying for an import license must be an Israeli citizen or a company duly registered
The application to import goods must be submitted on an import license application form together
with the order offer and a copy of the proforma invoice or price quotation of the supplier or
manufacturer abroad. Apart from exceptional cases, the handling of the import license applications by competent
authority does not take more than 14 days from receipt of the application.
- Special Certificate - This certificate is issued to the importer by the relevant authority (Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Transportation, Industry & Trade, Communications, etc.), allowing the import of goods as indicated in the certificate and under the terms specified therein.
- Standard Approval - This certificate is given to the importer by the Standards Institution of Israel and attests that the imported products conform with the requirements of the applicable standards.
The Second Schedule of the Free Import Regulation lists the products imported to Israel that
must receive approval by the Standards Institution of Israel. The standards specified in the
Schedule are official. Tests of imported products are commissioned according to customary
ordering procedures of the Standards Institution.
“Standard approval” is given based on the results of a model test, partial test or identification test,
as set forth in the procedures of the Standards Institution of Israel. The model test is performed
before or after the first shipment of the product model is delivered to Israel. This test is very
common with respect to electrical appliances and other similar complex products. The partial tests
are performed as often as set forth for each product. Identification inspections are generally
performed at the ports, but sometimes also at the bonded warehouses and even at the importer's
warehouse. They are designed to determine whether the shipment indeed contains the products
that were examined and approved in the model test.
- Marking of Goods - Products must be marked under the Marking of Goods Order which was published as part of the Consumer Protection Law. Marking requirements include the following details: item description, country of origin, name and address of the importer, quantity. The First Schedule of the Order includes a list of products which are subject to special marking provisions, such as furniture, household appliances, pens, apparel, footwear, bags, carpets, etc. In addition to the above Marking Order, there are specific orders for various products requiring Hebrew marking on the product while it is still abroad. These include food products, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, cleaning supplies, cosmetics, ceramic products, etc.
- Kosher Certificates - Kosher certificates are required in order to import food to Israel whenever the importer wishes to market food products marked “kosher” on them. The body responsible for issuing kosher certificates is the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
- Import Quotas - Quotas were set for a number of products (primarily agricultural), and these products may be imported subject to an import license in the determined quantities at reduced customs or no customs duties.