Israel has signed a new agreement with Hong Kong, intended to ease customs clearance regulations for export and import between the two. The agreement was signed during the weekend at an annual event of the World Customs Organization in Brussels.
For daily updates, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here.
According to the agreement, authorized economic operators (AEOs)—goods movers approved by a national customs administration—on both sides will receive various benefits and exemptions at customs, such as a lower chance of inspection.
Israeli export to Hong Kong reached $557 million in 2018, down from $606 million in 2017 and $632 million in 2016. Israeli import from Hong Kong stood at $710 million in 2018, down from $827 million in 2017.
Israel’s AEO program was launched in 2010 and now encompasses around 230 entities such as exporters, seaports, and other players in the supply chain, chosen based on a wide range of financial, legal, and defense-related criteria. This is the seventh bilateral agreement Israel has signed under the program—similar agreements are already in place with Taiwan, the U.S., South Korea, Canada, China, and Mexico. The program is intended to promote and simplify international trade, cutting shipment costs by ensuring certain supply chain security standards are met.
The bilateral agreement with Hong Kong holds great significance for the Israeli economy, Eran Yaacov, director general of the Israel Tax Authority, said in a statement. The signing is one of the steps the authority is taking to help Israeli exporters develop and increase exposure to new markets, he added.