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Import Laws and Procedures
Palestinian and foreign entities must obtain a trade authorization before engaging in any trade transaction. The Foreign Trade Dealing Registration is a one-time authorization to trade, applicable for both import and export across international borders. Applications are submitted to the Ministry of National Economy, upon approval, they will provide authorization for both Palestine and Israel. No fees are charged and the time frame of the procedure should not exceed three weeks.

A summary of laws and procedures for importing or exporting goods in Palestine is outlined in the following sections.
For more detail regarding the requirements for import and export licenses and procedures, please consult The Palestinian Export Import Guide available through Ministry of National Economy.

Please consult either with PIPA or the associated Ministries and monitoring agencies.
The below listed information represents a series of guidelines and general requirements. They are not to be considered the final source on export/import procedures and regulations.
The importer must be aware of certain requirements that must be fulfilled prior to importing and while clearing goods at the port of entry. These requirements do not apply to all categories of imported goods. Failure to meet these requirements may result in delays and additional costs. These requirements are:
  • Valid Import Licenses
  • Valid Certificates of Origin
  • Compliance with Standards & Testing
  • Compliance with Sanitary and Phytosanitary Regulations
  • Proper Marking, Labeling and Packaging
The Palestinian licensing system requires an import license in the following cases:
  • When imports are subject to quotas, as in the case of agricultural products and goods cited on Lists A1, A2 and B of the Paris Protocol.
  • When public health is involved (i.e. meat, foodstuffs or pharmaceuticals) a license is required to verify that imports meet Palestinian standards.
  • When importing petroleum, gas, telecommunications equipment, or motor vehicles.
  • As the Palestinian applies the Israeli import policy, an import license is required when an (L) indication appears in the Tariff Book of Israel.
Applications for import licenses are obtained at the General Directorate of Internal Trade – Ministry of National Economy. The applicant is required to provide four copies of the application form.

The following categories of products require approval from relevant Palestinian ministries and/or entities prior to the issuance of the license:
  • Gasoline (petrol) and oil require the approval of the General Petroleum Corporation.
  • Cigarettes and tobacco require authorization from the Palestinian Tobacco Authority.
  • Insecticide and paint mixtures require approval from the Environmental Department.
  • Motor vehicles and related spare parts require approval from the Ministry of Transportation.
  • Telecommunications items require the approval of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications.
  • Agricultural products and foodstuffs require the approval of the Ministry of Agriculture.
  • Chemical products require the approval of the Ministry of Health.
Additional detailed information regarding the above requirements can be obtained from the Ministry of National Economy, trade associations, trade agencies or from The Palestinian Export Import Guide.
Prohibited Goods
Clearance of Goods
Customs Valuation
Other Levies: Surcharges
Purchase and Excise Taxes
Value-Added Tax (VAT)
Prohibited Goods
All sources of internationally controlled substances such as narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Pornographic publications, hate literature and any other materials contrary to generally accepted public morals, human, animal & plant health or national security.
Imports of motor vehicles older than 3 years, according to Article 3, Paragraph 11 (a) of the Paris Protocol.
Clearance of Goods
before goods arrive to the port, the importer should inform the clearing agent regarding the date of arrival and provide the agent with the required documents. Assuming all the documentation is in order, the Customs Declaration Form will be issued.
Once the shipment arrives, goods must be unloaded, cleared, inspected and pass security clearance.
After being inspected, a gate pass is provided to the importer. The goods can then leave the port area. Special arrangements to leave the port area apply to trucks transporting frozen meat and livestock to the West Bank and Gaza Strip (which require an Israeli Authority escort either (1) directly to the importer's warehouse or (2) to the Palestinian checkpoint when such a warehouse lies within Area A). The same escorting procedures apply to goods destined for the Gaza Strip on Palestinian trucks.
Most tariffs are ad valorem (proportionate to the value of the goods) and consequently, are calculated as a percentage that includes cost, insurance and freight (CIF).
Sometimes tariffs are calculated on a pre-specified basis, which is assessed on a statistical unit, as listed in the Tariff Book. Specific duties are common in the agricultural sector, particularly on meat, fruit, nuts and animal or vegetable fats and oils.
Tariffs can be combined (ad valorem plus specific). The total tariff is the sum of an ad valorem and a specific tariff. Combined tariffs apply mostly to textiles and textile articles, beverages and spirits, some electrical machinery, fish and crustaceans, edible vegetables and prepared cereals.
Tariffs can also be alternative (either ad valorem or specific). The Tariff Book indicates which of the two apply with the following acronyms: "But Not Less" (BNL) or "But Not More" (BNM). Alternative rates are applied mainly to clothing, dairy products, live animals, poultry, meat, edible fruit, prepared vegetables and some electrical machinery and equipment.
Customs Valuation
Customs valuation follows the Brussels definition of value: the value of imported goods is the value of the goods on the open market on the day they are released from the customs authorities.
Other Levies: Surcharges
The Tariff Book contains a special column indicating compulsory surcharges (indicated by the letter ("C")) applied on a number of imported goods including foodstuffs such as edible meat, fish and crustaceans, and textile products.
Purchase and Excise Taxes
Purchase and excise taxes are levied on both local and imported goods. Purchase taxes are levied on consumer goods (perfumery, carpets, clocks and watches), iron and steel products, some copper products, alcohol, machinery and boilers, some electrical machinery, motor vehicles, cosmetics, and tobacco. The purchase tax is calculated on the value of goods, adding the import increment.
Excise taxes are applied to alcoholic beverages, petroleum, arms and tobacco.
Value-Added Tax (VAT)
The value-added tax is an indirect form of taxation on both locally produced and imported goods. The VAT is calculated at 16 % and is applied after all other tariffs and taxes have been added to the CIF value.

Transporting goods from Israeli ports to the West Bank or Gaza can be done by Israeli-licensed trucks (yellow plated) or Palestinian-licensed (green plated) trucks. When Palestinian trucks are used, they require special permits.

Goods transported to the West Bank by Israeli-licensed trucks are permitted to proceed all the way to the final destination. Some Palestinian vehicles are granted Israeli permission to transport goods from Israeli ports back to the West Bank.

Goods transported to Gaza by Israeli-licensed trucks must be unloaded at the Israeli crossing point with Gaza and reloaded on Palestinian trucks