Saudi trade authorities have published a list of 190 foreign companies accused of importing Israeli-made goods into the Kingdom, the local Al-Watan reported Sunday, August 4. The firms identified as marketing Israeli goods in Saudi Arabia will be banned from trading there in the future.
The companies, mostly Jordanian and Cypriot, have imported some $150 million worth of Israeli merchandise, including vegetables, seeds, mobile phones and electronic equipment, into Saudi Arabia over the past 10 months. This constitutes roughly half of the total value of Israeli goods indirectly exported to the entire Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region during the same time.
The Saudis are claiming that the blacklisted companies—including 72 Jordanian-based, 70 from Cyprus, 23 Egyptian firms and 11 Turkish—have forged the products’ certificates of origin in order to conceal their Israeli source, a Saudi trade official told Associated Press.
Although no formal complaint was issued, Jordanian officials were quick to deny the allegations. "The trade and industry ministry is totally committed to checking the certificate of origin of all Jordanian goods that are exported from the kingdom," ministry Secretary General Samer Tawil told Al-Arab Al-Yaum.
Israel's direct exports to the Arab world amounted to $48.8 million in the first half of the current year, registring a 29 percent fall compared to the corresponding period in 2001. Indirect exports are estimated at five million dollars. At the same time, imports from Arab countries into Israel rose 11 percent to $36.1 million, statistics recently published by Israel’s Export Institute reveal.
According to the report, cited today in Israel’s Haaretz daily, Israeli exports to Saudi Arabia, mainly chemicals and machinery, experienced a staggering 98 percent leap to $1.6 million during the first six months of the year 2002.
Saudi commercial trade regulations stipulate that Israeli imports are prohibited. In addition, foreign companies that are deemed supporters of Israel are blacklisted under an Arab League boycott, to which Saudi Arabia is a party. The 1951 boycott, inactive since the 1990s, has been tightened since the outbreak of the Palestinian Intifada in September 2000. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )