label is hard to sell
By Ora Coren, 23 April 2002
Importers of Israeli goods, particularly in Egypt and other North
African countries, have stepped up requests that the products be
sold without a tag indicating their origination.
An Israeli manufacturer recently received a similar request from
an importer in India.
Although these requests have been sporadic, manufacturers believe
this is a trend that is likely to intensify due to escalating Israeli-Palestinian
Rachel Ro'i, a top foreign trade official at the Industry and Trade
Ministry, said that two major local companies recently appealed
to an Israeli commercial attache in India, asking for help with
local merchants on the matter.
One of the companies, a communications equipment manufacturer,
said it was asked to remove all signs that its products are made
in Israel. The other company told the attache it is being discriminated
against for political reasons in a tender bid on an Indian government
Chairman of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, Dan
Gillerman, said importers and exporters are having particular problems
selling Israeli-made goods in Europe. He said that with the threat
of an arms embargo against Israel, Italy has stopped sending guns
used with police robots. Spain has stopped a shipment of fireworks
that were to be used on Independence Day on the grounds that they
can be used for military purposes, Gillerman said.
The Manufacturers' Association said it had received 10 complaints
from exporters who are having trouble selling Israeli goods in Scandinavia.
All of them reported they had received letters from their buyers
saying they are having an increasingly-difficult time marketing
Israeli goods due to anti-Israel public sentiment. Exporters fear
the Scandinavian market may dry up completely.
The Industry and Trade Ministry's foreign trade department has
set up a team that will stay in constant contact, and consult, with
commercial attaches abroad.