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EU tightens trade procedures against settlement products

TJI Pick
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Published: 23 June 2023

Last updated: 5 March 2024

Importers will need to make customs declarations that goods do not come from Israeli settlements.

The European Union has taken a significant step in tightening enforcement of tariffs on Israeli products that originate from the West Bank and other territories occupied by Israel since 1967.

Since Israel signed a customs exemptions deal with the EU in 1995, the bloc has become its biggest export market, worth around 17 billion euros a year.

Another deal struck in 2004 excluded settlements from enjoying preferential treatment, but the system – which requires exporters to input the ZIP code of origin in a supporting form – has suffered from patchy enforcement.

According to the new guidelines issued by the European Commission’s Trade Department, importers will be denied access to the preferential tariff system unless they enter a special code that confirms the goods do not come from settlements in the main electronic customs declaration, which means it will be checked automatically.

While products hailing from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are not outright banned, the new policy is more likely to ensure that they do not enjoy the tariff exemption granted to businesses within Israel’s internationally recognised borders.

The move is the first new enforcement measure by the EU since the decision to label settlement products in 2015, which sparked uproar from Israeli politicians.


New EU guidelines crack down on Israeli imports from West Bank (Haaretz)  

Photo: Containers in Haifa, Israel’s major export port (Container Mag)

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