Deputy FM Ayalon: "This agreement constitutes an important landmark in Israel’s relations with the Philippines, especially in light of the recent sharp rise in the scope of trade between the two countries.

 Israel and the Philippines sign first customs agreement

 

Deputy FM Ayalon and Philippine Ambassador to Israel Garcia (Photo: Barak Pachter)

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson)

On Tuesday (23 November 2010), at the Philippine Embassy in Tel-Aviv, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Philippine Ambassador to Israel Petrolina P. Garcia signed an agreement on mutual assistance and cooperation in customs matters between the State of Israel and the Republic of the Philippines. The agreement, the first of its kind between the two states, sets parameters for the exchange of information and knowledge that will facilitate trade, aid in investigations, and reciprocal enforcement actions to prevent customs offenses.

The scope of trade between Israel and the Philippines grew significantly in the first half of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009: Israeli exports increased sharply by 39% from $105.9 million to $147 million, and imports increased by a rate of 28.2% from $50.6 to $64.9 million.

Deputy FM Ayalon: "This agreement constitutes an important landmark in Israel’s relations with the Philippines, especially in light of the recent sharp rise in the scope of trade between the two countries. Asia is becoming a central factor in the world economy, and the Israel Foreign Ministry is working through a variety of channels to increase the exposure of the Israeli economy throughout Asia."

The signing ceremony was attended by Mr. Doron Arbelli, head of the Israeli Customs Directorate, as well as a high-ranking delegation of the Philippine Bureau of Customs who came from Manila for the occasion. The delegation, headed by Mr. John Simon, Chief of International Affairs at the Bureau of Customs, is on an official visit to Israel, during which they will meet with Mr. Doron Arbelli, head of the Israeli Customs Directorate and other senior customs officials. They will visit the customs installations at the border crossings and seaports, where they will be briefed on the commercial activities carried out by custom officials, including the simplification of commercial processes, supervision and enforement. The delegation will also visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Museum.

Mr. Arbelli noted that this is an excellent opportunity for the visiting delegation to learn about the customs system in Israel and the advanced technologies being used. "We hope that the cooperation following this agreement will further improve trade between the two countries by removing obstructions, while increasing the enforcement capabilities of both customs bureaus, as it has with the 51 countries with which Israel already has cooperation agreements."

The major exports from Israel to the Philippines are electronic equipment (63%), fertilizers (12.6%), and medical and optical equipment (6%). The major imports are electronic equipment (63%) and processed animal food products (19%).