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Israel   and the Philippines sign first customs agreement
MFA 23 Nov 2010

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.

(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%).