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Palestinians: Foreign Trade

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 17 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of changes made over the last 12 months to the operation of the back-to-back system introduced by Israel for transporting goods within the West Bank and between the West Bank and Israel; what assessment he has made of the impact of the system on (a) speed with which Palestinian goods can be transported and (b) costs of transportation; and what representations he is making on the subject. (179075)

There are currently six back-to-back crossings for commercial goods between the West Bank and Israel, and one internal back-to-back crossing in Nablus.

Transportation times have increased as goods must be unloaded and loaded at each crossing, and in some cases, goods must take a longer route to use a specified crossing. Restrictions are in place on the opening hours and capacity of the crossings. These factors have contributed to an increase in transportation costs.

DFID is supporting a World Bank study to quantify the additional transport costs these restrictions create. The study will also investigate alternate trade corridors to and from the West Bank.