ISRAELLogistic and forwarding services in Israel
Shear Israeli shekel (ILS)
Gross national product (GNP)
298.86 Mia. USD
GNP per person
Financial exports to Switzerland
1’108.22 Mio. CHF
Financial imports from Switzerland
620.12 Mio. CHF
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Israel
Israel is an important trade partner for Switzerland in the East. About 18,000 Swiss citizens live in this country and form one of the largest colonies of Swiss abroad that is found in Asian territory. Switzerland strives to maintain good relations with both parties to the conflict between Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territory.
For Switzerland, Israel represents a key commercial partner and export market in the Middle East. Since 1993, there exists a free trade agreement between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and Israel.
Predominantly English but also Hebrew, French, German etc.
Dimensions and weights
New Israeli Shekel (NIS) = 100 agorot
ISO code: ILS.
Most goods can be imported without an authorisation. An import licence or special licence is required for some goods (e.g. agricultural products, foods, alcohol, textiles, some chemical products, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, vehicles, industrial goods). The licence is generally valid for 1 year. The import of non-kosher meat is prohibited.
The import of goods originating from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Lebanon, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Syria is only permitted in exceptional cases and when a special licence is issued. In line with the European conformity procedures, consumer goods intended for the Israeli market are subject to a certificate of conformity/declaration of conformity. Alcoholic drinks require import authorisation and are subject to a quality control.
Standard VAT rate: 18%.
Payments for imports can be made in any freely convertible currency. The Shekel is freely convertible.
Terms of payment and tenders
Inquiries should be made about business partners (e.g. via foreign correspondence banks or the Israeli Chamber of Commerce) before delivery. An irrevocable, confirmed letter of credit or documents against payment are standard. In the case of payment in advance, authorisation from the Bank of Israel is required.
Tenders in EUR or USD on a FOB basis exporter’s ports or CIF Israeli ports.
Designations of origin
If the country of origin is not indicated it is possible that the customs authorities will delay or refuse to process the goods. If a certificate of origin is requested, the original from the respective country of origin must be submitted to the Israeli customs authorities (e.g. certificates of origin from Swiss with an origin of the USA are generally not recognised). A certificate of origin is required for dried vegetables and grain, dried fruits, herbs, flowers and leaves, wooden products, nuts without shells and certain cut flowers.
There are labelling regulations for goods including foods and food dyes, cotton yarn, chemicals, pharmaceutical preparations, drinks, records including their covers, shoe polish, paper and cardboard goods. There is an obligation for imported goods to be labelled in Hebrew and in the respective foreign language on both the packaging and the goods themselves. Note: the Merchandise Marks Ordinance forbids the import of goods with a confusing trade name. Information can be obtained from the Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
Marking regulations for packages: with the exception of the trademark and the number and landing site in letters which are 6 cm high, all packaging with Tel Aviv as a port of destination must be marked with a green colour strip and those with Haifa as a port of destination with a red colour strip. Seaworthy packaging. Hay and straw packaging and sacks and bags, paper waste and rags are prohibited as packaging materials (see also designations of origin).
Use of the IPPC standard ISPM no. 15.
Duty free import of samples with no retail value provided they are not intended for distribution to consumers, otherwise they are subject to duties.
The use of the ATA Carnet procedure is advisable.
Shipping and accompanying documents
The country of origin must be included on all shipping documents.
The identification number of the importers, foreign suppliers and goods must be entered on all freight documents.
a) Customs invoices are no linger required unless they are expressly requested by the importer.
b) Commercial invoices in English, signed, 3 copies with an indication of the country of origin, FOB costs, FOB value, CIF costs, CIF value, gross and net weight, trademark no. etc.
c) Certificates of origin are not required Bills of lasing: special regulations apply in Israel (additional info available from the Chamber of Commerce).
d) Postal packages up to 20 kg: 1 customs declaration, 1 international dispatch note (English/French/national language).
e) Packing lists: if the shipment is made up of various items, a packing list must be included which gives a precise overview of the individual packages with the trademark, number, gross and net weight and content.
f) To provide evidence of the preferential nature form EUR. 1 for goods with a value of more than EUR 6.000. If the value of the goods is less than EUR 6.000, the exporter can make a declaration of origin on the invoice or on another commercial document: “The exporter of the goods to which this commercial document refers states that these goods, unless otherwise indicated, are … preferential goods”. Plate and date, signature of the exporter and name of the signatory in block capitals (originating products from Ceuta and Melilla are to be clearly labelled with the abbreviation “CM”).
Once they have been approved by the central customs office, authorised exporters can also use this for goods valued at more than EUR 6.000 (indicate the authorisation number).
g) optional issuance of EUR-MED (note the countries in question).