EU-Israel Technical Arrangement
(implementation in the EU)
On 3 August 2012, the Commission published, with effect as of 13 August 2012, a revised Notice to Importers (see OJ C 232 page 5) concerning imports from Israel into the Union.
By a notice published on 25 January 2005, operators had been reminded that products produced in the Israeli settlements located within the territories brought under Israeli administration since June 1967 were not entitled to benefit from preferential tariff treatment under the EU-Israel Association Agreement.
Since 1 February 2005, the exclusion of settlement goods from preferential treatment has been implemented in the EU as follows:
- in accordance with a 'Technical Arrangement' concluded by the EU and Israel, the postal code and the name of the city, village or industrial zone where production conferring originating status has taken place appear on all proofs of preferential origin issued or made out in Israel;
- Member States' customs authorities check whether the postal codes appearing on Israeli proofs of origin presented to them correspond to any of the postal codes appearing in the list of non-eligible locations made available to them by the Commission and refuse preference where such is the case. The list of non-eligible locations was not public.
The main change brought in by the revised notice consists of making the list of non-eligible locations public. The list initially made public in August 2012 has been updated further to Israel's move, as of 1 February 2013, to a 7 digit postal code system instead of the 5 digit system used until then.
P.O. boxes are not a sufficiently reliable indication of the place where production conferring origin takes place and cannot be used to determine whether products may be eligible for preferential tariff treatment.
Importers are informed that their Israeli suppliers may continue to mention on proofs of origin the 'old' 5-digit postal codes until 31 January 2014. This transitional period should allow Israeli exporters to adapt their Information Technology (IT) systems to the new postal code system. Importers should rely on the revised list both in cases where the proof of origin in their possession shows a 'new' 7-digit postal code and where the postal code appearing on the proof of origin is of the 'old' 5-digit type.
To be noted:
1) The list is available in a format allowing to carry out searches, using the 'find' command of Adobe Reader; this means that carefully entering in the 'find' box the first five digits of the postal code appearing on a proof of origin will allow to determine whether preference may be claimed or not.
2) This list only exists in English (or more precisely with a transliteration of the Hebrew alphabet into the Latin/English alphabet); however, translations into the other EU languages of the important notice appearing at the top of the list are also available.
Operators are advised to consult the list before lodging a customs declaration for releasing goods for free circulation in support of which they intend to provide proof of preferential origin issued or made out in Israel. If they find the postal code appearing on the proof of origin in their possession in Part I of the list of non-eligible locations, they should refrain from claiming preference.
If they find the postal code appearing on the proof of origin in their possession in Part II of the list, they are advised to consult the customs office where they intend to lodge the relevant declaration for release for free circulation in order to verify the exact position, and thus eligibility for preference, of the place of production conferring originating status.