The U.S.-Israel FTA came into full effect in 1995. Under this agreement, American companies exporting to Israel can gain greater market access, reduce transaction costs, increase sales, enhance export revenues, and become more competitive in the Israeli marketplace. Effective January 10, 2018, U.S. exporters to Israel are no longer required to provide Israeli authorities a hard copy Certificate of Origin (commonly referred to as the “Green Form” or “Form A”) to qualify for preferential access to the Israeli market under the United States-Israel FTA. Instead, U.S. exporters are required to print and sign a Declaration on the invoice or on a letterhead document. American exporters are advised to ensure that they carefully review and understand the language of the FTA’s Rules of Origin Provision before they sign the Invoice Declaration. For further information and for the full text of the FTA, please refer to the U.S. Commercial Service Israel website.
The Invoice Declaration is required by Israeli Customs to qualify for preferential tariff treatment. In addition, U.S. goods that are transshipped through third countries require a Certificate of Non-Manipulation from the customs authority of the third country to qualify for the FTA preferential tariff. Israeli Customs stringently enforces import documentation regulations, including the Invoice Declaration for U.S. exports to Israel. Therefore, U.S. exporters should meticulously follow the advice given below and always double-check with the Israeli Customs clearing agent before the goods leave the United States to avoid potentially lengthy delays when the goods enter Israel.
The Israeli Customs Service prefers that exporters use their own commercial invoice forms containing all required information including name and address of supplier, general nature of the goods, country of origin of the goods, name and address of the customer in Israel, name of the agent in Israel, terms, rate of exchange (if applicable), Israel import license number (if applicable), shipping information, and a full description of all goods in the shipment including shipping marks, quantity or measure, composition of goods (by percentage if mixed), tariff heading number, gross weight of each package, net weight of each package, total weight of shipment, price per unit as sold, and total value of shipment. The total value of the shipment includes packing, shipping, dock and agency fees, and insurance charges incurred in the exportation of the goods to Israel. The commercial invoice must be signed by the manufacturer, consignor, owner, or authorized agent. U.S. exporters should also double check with their freight forwarder, shipping company or importer to find out if any other documentation, including bill of lading and packing list, is required. It is imperative that these issues be addressed before the goods arrive at the Israeli port, to avoid any possible delays and storage fees.
Authorization Procedures for “Approved Exporter” Status
Potential candidates for “Approved Exporter” status are U.S. firms with total annual exports to Israel of at least $20 million that have a clean record with Israeli Customs. Israeli Customs will examine whether the manufacturer or exporter complies with the criteria and grant approval for “Approved Exporter” status. The approved exporter will be given an identity number to be stamped on all invoices. The approval is valid for six months, after which the exporter should receive an automatic extension from Israel Customs. If the exporter does not receive an extension notice, he/she must terminate use of the approval. For more information, please contact U.S. Commercial Service Commercial Specialist Inbar.Marom@trade.gov.