Economy ministry prepares for sweeping cost-of-living reforms


The large Yehud shopping center in central Israel. (Yossi Aloni / Flash90)

Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry has proposed sweeping regulatory reform aimed at lowering the cost of thousands of items, The Times of Israel reported on Wednesday.

The ministry released a draft list of foreign imports to be approved for “public comment, with June as the target date for implementation.”

The measure aims to increase competition for everything from air conditioners and sunglasses to bicycles, cribs and washing machines.

“The reforms we are carrying out should increase the supply [of goods], the number of products and the number of importers, and lower the price for consumers, ”said Economy Minister Orna Barbivai in the announcement.

The idea is to facilitate more imports “by relying on compliance with foreign standards in other developed countries,” she noted. Israel removes much of its national regulatory standards, which are considered redundant after certification and clearance by the US and EU

Some items will go through an abbreviated testing regime, such as for the presence of lead, while others will be subject to one product per shipment inspection. Other articles will only require importers to submit a declaration of compliance with the standards, ToI said.

“Bikes that are good for Amsterdam are also good for Tel Aviv,” added Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman. “This is another step in adjusting the regulations in Israel to what is common in developed countries. Reducing the regulatory burden, especially for small businesses, is expected to increase competition and lower the cost of living. “

In a parallel development on Wednesday, the finance ministry was considering easing regulations on car imports, according to Globes.

According to the report, Israel has 14 official car importers licensed by automakers and 35 other parallel car importers, which purchase vehicles directly from dealers in foreign markets.

Regulatory change can reduce bureaucracy and costly customs procedures that hamper competition from parallel importers, thereby lowering prices.

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