• Importing Products to Israel: A Complete Guide

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    Importing Products to Israel

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    Planning to import products from China, Vietnam or elsewhere to Israel? In this article, we cover what importers must know about Israeli import duties, customs processes, product regulations, labeling requirements, permits, and shipping.

    • Trade Agreements
    • Import Duties
    • Value Added Tax (VAT)
    • Electronics Safety Standards
    • Toy Safety Standards
    • Labeling requirements
    • Licenses and Permits
    • Shipping from China to Israel
    • List of China to Israeli Freight Forwarders

    Import Taxes in Israel

    Trade Agreements

    Depending on the mutual agreement of Israel with its partner, there are three kinds of tariff policies.

    Member states of the European Union and the European Free Trade Association

    In 1975, free trade agreements were signed between Israel and the member states of the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Except for a few kinds of products subject to Israeli customs tariffs, e.g.agricultural products, most of the products imported from Europe are exempted from tariffs.

    Countries from other Free Trade Associations

    Israel signed a trade agreement with the United States in 1985, with Canada and Turkey in 1997, and with Mexico in 1999. Those trade agreements involve products like textiles, timber, footwear, aluminum products.

    Other countries

    Since 1991, the government decided to make an adjustment to the import tariffs once a year for the benefit of developing its national economy. Currently, the general tariff rate of the State of Israel depends on the individual product, and are listed in the next section.

    Import Duties

    There are only two types of tariffs levied upon the products imported to Israel, and they are custom duties and value-added tax. Below is a table explaining the details of these two taxes.

    TypeCustoms DutyValue-added Tax
    Tax Rate RangeVaries (depends on the HS code)

    Customs Valuation Method: CIF (Products + Shipping)

    17% (Standard rate)
    Tax PayerImportersImporter
    Tax CollectorIsrael Tax AuthorityIsrael Tax Authority
    Customs threshold (from which tariffs are required)CIF value up to USD 1,000 and with a weight up to 30 kgNone
    Duty Rate Examples

    Here some examples of the customs duties for different products imported to Israel:

    ProductTax Rate
    Electronic products (i.e.Laptops, cameras, tablets, computers)0%
    Toys0%
    Jewelry & Watches0%
    Home appliances0%
    Pet assessories5%
    Textile products12%
    Health & Beauty12%

    Value Added Tax (VAT)

    Value-added tax (VAT) is applied to most goods and services, including imported goods and services in Israel. The average tax rate is 17%, however, certain items are exempted from VAT, such as fruits and vegetables. That said, VAT is applicable to most consumer products imported into Israel, such as textiles, watches, bags and other products.

    Product Safety Regulations in Israel

    The Standards Institution of Israel (SII) is the only statutory body in Israel that develops and establishes standards for all kinds of products manufactured, imported to and sold in Israel.

    The SII is under the supervision of the Ministry of Economy and Industry and incorporates standardization, testing, conformity assessment, product certification, management system certification, and training activities under one roof. Products entering into the Israeli market must comply with the relevant SII standards.

    The Israeli government has adopted several established international standards and requires products to comply with all applicable standards in order to maximize the quality of consumer goods sold in Israel.

    Israel has predominantly modeled its regulations on European policies, making compliance easier for European imports than for those from the US.

    Electronics

    The SII requires that all electrical products imported into Israel conduct mandatory safety testing. And importers to obtain Type Approval to import products into Israel and be compliant with SII standards, including labeling and the SII Safety Mark requirements.

    Further, the SII requires that some kinds of electrical products, telecom and wireless equipment to be EMC (Electromagnetic compatibility) compliant.

    If importers want to determine whether a particular electrical product is subject to the above regulations, please contact a third-party testing company, such as TUV, SGS or BV.

    Click here to learn more about the SII.

    Toys and Children’s Products

    Israel recognized the EU Toy Safety Directive as its national toy standard and aligns this directive into its national standard system (SI). It’s also considering adopting the ASTM F963, also known as ASTM International’s Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety.

    The Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Health of the State of Israel regulate the concentration of trace metals contained in the toy products manufactured, imported, sold in Israel.

    The following contents are restricted by the Ministry of Economy of Israel in toys and children’s products:

    • Bisphenol A
    • Phthalates
    • Flame-retardants
    • Lead
    • Cadmium

    In 2018, the Standards and Institution of Israel (SII) amended three standards for the safety of toys. They are:

    • SI 562 Part 2:2018 Safety of Toys: Flammability
    • SI 562 Part 3:2018 Safety of Toys: Migration of Certain Chemical Elements
    • SI 562 Part 7:2015 Safety of Toys: Finger Paints — Requirements and Test Methods

    Toy importers should carefully read the related toy safety standards and the testing methods before importing products to Israel.

    Lab testing

    Note that toys manufactured in China, and other countries, are not designed to comply with Israeli (or other European standards for that matter) by default. It’s, therefore, necessary to submit toys and other children’s products for third-party lab testing before importing into Israel.

    Testing companies can also help you assess which toy safety standards currently apply in Israel. The standards listed above may already be outdated, which is why an up to date assessment is necessary each time you import products.

    Labelling requirements

    Country of Origin

    All import goods into Israel must bear a label indicating the country of origin. The following are the information you should include in the COO label:

    • Name and address of the manufacturer
    • Name and address of the Israeli importer
    • Contents, weight, and volume

    Apparel labeling requirements

    Other than the COO label, when importing clothing to Israel importers should also consider size labels, material composition and care instructions (written or in graphics), which should be properly specified in the product labels.

    Also, in this case, all labels must be written in Hebrew. English may be added provided the printed letters are not larger than those in Hebrew.

    Licenses and Permits

    The following documents are required by the Israeli customs when importing goods into Israel:

    • Import permit issued by the Ministry of Economy and Industry
    • Certificate of product compliance from the SII (Standards Institution of Israel)
    • Kosher Certificates issued by the Chief Rabbinate (For food and beverages)

    Restricted products

    Israel limits or prohibits the import of certain kinds of articles and products, they include but are not limited to the following:

    • Wine, spirits products and grape juice with incorrect or misleading geographical indications
    • Some kind of point or sharp blade
    • Disruptive instruments of laser speed measuring meters.
    • Firearms resembling a pen, starting pistols, items activated by gas, etc.
    • Nerve gas containers resembling a gun.
    • Games of chance or part of them as defined in the Penal Code
    • Goods of all types which carry a false commercial description as defined in the Consumer Protection law

    Click here to see more articles that are prohibited by Israeli Customs.

    Shipping from China to Israel

    There are three main seaports in Israel. On the coast of the Mediterranean Sea lie the two main shipping ports, Haifa to the north and Ashdod to the South.

    At the Southernmost tip of Israel, Eilat is the gateway to the Red Sea. In addition to these three commercial ports, Israel has two additional ports in Hadera and Ashkelon, which mainly handle coal imports for power plants located near the port facilities, as well as petroleum and petroleum products.

    Seaports in Israel

    There are three commercial ports in Israel

    • The Port of Eilat
    • The Port of Ashdod
    • The Port of Haifa

    Shipping costs

    The shipping costs from China to the State of Israel mainly depend on the following parameters:

    • Transportation Type (Sea / Air)
    • Shipment Type (FCL/ LCL/Express)
    • Freight Type (FOB / CIF / FCA / FAS)
    • Commodity Type
    • Transport Package (Carton / Pallet / Wooden Cases)
    • Weight, size, and shape of the cargo
    • Departure Harbor
    • Destination Harbor
    • Transit Time
    • Cargo Type
    • Carrier
    • Special shipping conditions such as heating or cooling

    There are several online tools that offer freight estimation services such as Freightos or World Freight Rates.

    Here an estimation for products shipped from Hong Kong to Haifa:

    • $1,429 – $1,579 for a 20’’ container (FCL)
    • $1,843 – $2,037 for a 40’’ container (FCL)

    How long does it take to ship from China to Israel?

    Likewise, the average shipping time taken from China to Israel depends on multiple parameters. It could be affected by cargo type, transportation service or customs clearance procedures. It can take at most 10 hours by air door to door express service and 10-13 days by sea freight.

    List of China to Israel Freight Forwarders

    In this section you can find a list of freight forwarder companies that are based in Israel:

    • Airgate Israel
    • Allalouf & Co. Shipping
    • Fridenson
    • Avi Ram Cargo
    • ABETRANS Logistics
    • Arma Customs Brokers & International Forwarders

    Airgate Israel

    Airgate Israel was established in 1999 and its headquarters are in Hamelacha Street in Lod. In addition, the company has operational offices in the Mamman Building in the Ben Gurion Airport and in both the Haifa and Ashdod seaports.

    The company provides an extensive variety of services in air, sea and land shipping, projects, insurance, door to door transport, logistics, shipment packaging, handling and custom clearance of art object, distribution of bulk mail, personal items, land transport across the bridges on the Jordan river, handling imports, exports, and more.

    Airgate Israel has a computer system that is linked to authorities such as the customs authorities in Haifa and Ashdod seaports, airports and air depots (Mamman and Swissport) as well as the Standards Institute, the Communications, and Health Ministries.

    This enables the company to receive the latest information for shipping and regulations as soon as possible.

    Freight Services

    • Ocean Freight (FCL): Yes
    • Ocean Freight (LCL): Yes
    • Inland Truck Freight: Yes
    • Air Freight: Yes
    • Custom Clearance: Yes
    • Warehousing: Yes

    Company Overview

    • Founded: 1999
    • HQ: Lod, Israel

    Allalouf & Co. Shipping

    Allalouf & Co. Shipping was established in Greece in 1919 and expanded its sphere of operations to include pre-statehood Israel in 1932. Today, Allalouf is headquartered in Tel-Aviv, with branches in the Israeli port of Ashdod, Eilat, and Haifa.

    Allalouf offers a range of marine transport services extending to ports and destinations worldwide.

    Freight Services

    • Ocean Freight (FCL): Yes
    • Ocean Freight (LCL): Yes
    • Inland Truck Freight: Yes
    • Air Freight: No
    • Custom Clearance: No
    • Warehousing: No

    Company Overview

    • Founded: 1919
    • HQ: Tel Aviv, Israel

    Fridenson

    Fridenson was established in Haifa, Israel in 1975. The company offers inbound, outbound and third-party shipments from all major seaports all over the globe. They are active in all five continents, with a global network of dedicated partners.

    Fridenson now has branch offices in Azor and Ben Gurion Airport, Haifa Port and Ashdod Port. The company currently has about 350 employees, including 250 in the logistics service department and 100 in the international transportation department.

    Freight Services

    • Ocean Freight (FCL): Yes
    • Ocean Freight (LCL): Yes
    • Inland Truck Freight: Yes
    • Air Freight: Yes
    • Custom Clearance: No
    • Warehousing: Yes

    Company Overview

    • Founded: 1975
    • HQ: Haifa, Israel

    Avi Ram Cargo

    Avi Ram was established in 1985 in Ramat Gan, Israel. The company’s main services include

    weekly groupage and consol from major countries around the world, sea and air freight, customs brokerage, house delivery services, and other logistics services.

    Freight Services

    • Ocean Freight (FCL): Yes
    • Ocean Freight (LCL): Yes
    • Inland Truck Freight: Yes
    • Air Freight: Yes
    • Custom Clearance: Yes
    • Warehousing: Yes

    Company Overview

    • Founded: 1985
    • HQ: Ramat Gan, Israel

    ABETRANS Logistics

    ABETRANS is one of the largest freight forwarding companies in Israel. The company has been operating in the international freight forwarding sector and logistics solutions related to the import and export industry for over 35 years. Currently, the company has over 100 employees.

    ABETRANS operates branches both nationwide and worldwide with agents all over the world – in Haifa, Ashdod and Ben Gurion Airport, and at some of the border crossings with neighbouring countries. Other than regular shipment, the company also specializes in Ro-Ro ship cargo shipment and large projects such as relocation of entire factories from one country to another and more.

    ABETRANS is especially active in countries such as China, Turkey, Bulgaria, Italy, Belgium, Poland, and the US.

    Freight Services

    • Ocean Freight (FCL): Yes
    • Ocean Freight (LCL): Yes
    • Inland Truck Freight: Yes
    • Air Freight: Yes
    • Custom Clearance: Yes
    • Warehousing: No

    Company Overview

    • Founded: 1983
    • HQ: Rishon Lezion, Israel

    Arma Customs Agents & International Forwarders

    Arma Customs Agents & International Forwarders is a family business that has been providing customs clearance and international dispatch services since the ’80s. The company focuses on the field of clearance of shipments from customs and the export of merchandise overseas.

    The company has developed an independent international network of customs agents for international shipment (import and export) as well as haulage of cargo from most destinations in the world to various air and seaports, offering reliable service and competitive prices.

    Arma specializes in clearing shipments from customs, both in Ashdod and Haifa, for sea shipments, including full containers, FCL, and partial containers, LCL.

    Freight Services

    • Ocean Freight (FCL): Yes
    • Ocean Freight (LCL): Yes
    • Inland Truck Freight: Yes
    • Air Freight: Yes
    • Custom Clearance: Yes
    • Warehousing: Yes

    Company Overview

    • Founded: 1985
    • HQ: Tel Aviv, Israel
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