Israel continues to actively implement policies directed at creating an efficient and outward looking economy, including trade and foreign exchange liberalization, reduction of state subsidies and the budget deficit, deregulation and privatization. The Israeli government launched a unilateral trade liberalization program in industrial imports in the early 1990's, in order to expose domestic industry to foreign competition. The program has been duly implemented: import restrictions and non-tariff barriers have been eliminated and MFN tariff rates for manufactured products have been reduced drastically to rates of 12% or lower.
In addition, while enhancing the process of trade liberalization at the multilateral level, Israeli trade policy is aimed at continuing the expansion of its network of bilateral trade agreements. After completing free trade agreements with its two major trading partners, the European Union and the United States during the 1980's and with the EFTA countries (Island, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) in 1992, Israel has expanded its free trade agreements to Canada, Turkey, Mexico, Romania and Bulgaria.
The Foreign Trade Administration in the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Labor is also responsible for Israel's import policy. This includes the following: