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Israel: EU External Trade

Volume 470: debated on Wednesday 23 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken to monitor the post code regulation of goods being imported to the UK by Israel under the EU-Israel Association Agreement; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of monitoring in preventing the products of Israeli settlements in the West Bank being imported using the Agreement’s trade preferences. (178520)

I have been asked to reply.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs assess applications for relief based on the terms of the international agreements applying to the territories concerned. Claims to duty relief under the provisions of the EU-Israel Association Agreement are disallowed where documentation accompanying the goods indicates that they were produced in the Palestinian Authority.

The monitoring of the post code regulation is effective and resulted in the disallowance of 202 claims to preference since January 2007.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken to ensure that the EU Trade Association Agreement with Israel is properly implemented in relation to its human rights clauses. (180745)

The European Commission, on behalf of member states, is responsible for monitoring implementation of the EU/Israel Association Agreement. Twice a year, all aspects of the EU/Israel relationship are discussed at an Association Council at which Israel and the EU are represented.

Human rights issues in particular are also discussed in the Informal Working Group on Human Rights, established under the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan with Israel.

The UK also raises a range of human rights issues bilaterally with Israel at ambassadorial and ministerial level.