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Policy Dialogue In recognition of the need for close economic consultations, the governments of the U.S. and Israel agreed during the October 1984 visit to Washington, D.C. of then Prime Minister Peres to establish a joint Economic Development Group (JEDG) to review economic developments in Israel, the role of U.S. assistance in support of Israeli adjustment efforts, and Israel's longer-term development objectives. The Group is jointly chaired by the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (W. Allen Wallis) and by the Israeli Minister of Finance (currently Moshe Nissim). Participating u.s. agencies include State, A. I. D., Treasury and OMB. On the Israeli Government side, participation includes representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bank of Israel, Ministry of Economy and Planning, Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister. Distinguished private American and Israeli economists also participate in the Group. The Group has met several times, both in Israel and the U.S.
The Group has a consultative role only. All decisions about economic assistance remain with the U.S. Government. Recent meetings of the JEDG (the most recent was in June 1987) have focused on how Israel can facilitate resumption of economic growth without rekindling inflation or worsening the country's external indebtedness. The U.S. Government position has emphasized that the successful implementation of the stabilization program initiated in 1985 is most important in that stability is a prerequisite for a return to sustainable higher levels of productive, private investment and economic growth. The U.S. has continued to stress the need to reduce the role of government in the Israeli economy, in general, to reduce the size of the budget deficit, and to rely to a greater extent on the forces of the market place for the provision of goods and services and the mobilization and allocation of capital. As has been indicated in this report, reform efforts in many of these areas are currently underway.
Free Trade Agreement (PTA) In September 1985, Israel and the U.S. signed the free Trade Agreement (PTA), which goes beyond the u.s.'s extension of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) as well as the trade arrangement between the European Economic Community and Israel. The PTA called for the immediate duty free status of many products as well as the progressive reduction and elimination of duties on many more, subject to further negotiation. The two parties are also currently negotiating, under the forum of the PTA, understandings on various services, including tourism, telecommunications and insurance.
Although the PTA is intended to encourage greater two-way trade between the 0.3. and Israel, the 0.5. share in exports to Israel has declined slightly while Israeli exports as a share of total Israeli exports have risen somewhat. (See Section IV.) longer gestation period is necessary before the impact of the PTA can be assessed. Also, in October 1987, the 0.s.-Israel Chamber of Commerce and the Government of Israel jointiy sponsored the America-Israel Teade week in Washington, D.C. This conference brought u.s. and Israelí businesspeople together to share information, nake contacts and, in general, seek opportunities to increase trade. Other such conferences are being planned for the future.
The Israeli economy has shown marked improvement over the past two and one half years. much of the improvement is due to the reform efforts of the Government. The need to maintain momentum is necessary to avert a reversion to the destabilizing conditions of the past. Sone structural reforms have been started and are already beginning to make themselves felt in the the economy. However, given the improved economic situation, there is the danger that the earlier sense of urgency may have passed and the reform program may not maintain its earlier momentum. The National Unity Government nas achieved a great deal in its reform efforts, and is sensitive to actions that night tend to undermine its past efforts. Nonetheless, both privatization and taxation, areas needy of reform, appear less urgent, and may face greater opposition. In 1988 the budget is likely to face greater pressures, not due to domestic lobbying for increased spending but due to stepped up military spending, which had slowed, and the return to normal' levels of 0.s. economic assistance. On the up-side for 1988 and 1989, however, is the termination of the Lavi project, which adds considerable flexibility to the budget process. 1€ Israel is to remain internationally competitive the disparity between domestic inflation and the fixed exchange rate must be addressed. Unless inflation can be slowed to the level of Israel's trading partners, Israel will have to continue its periodic devaluations to maintain competitiveness or face continued pressures on its trade account fueled by an overvalued exchange rate and high consumer imports. 1987 probably saw an increase in exports of about 166. Regardless of the exchange rates prevailing, it is unlikely that such export growth can be maintained. Exportation is one route for growth in the Israeli economy, but it is unlikely to ever entirely close the resource gap.
A major reason for this is that Israel's demand for military iaports is not likely to diminish in the foreseeable future. То naintain growth rates in per capita income of one or two percent per year, while maintaining the current levels of defense spending and importation, continued foreign aid in large magnitudes is a must. However, if economic stability can be maintained and the economy can be successfully restructured, foreign aid will only be necessary to fund that gap created by security needs rather than to maintain the civilian economy as vell.
drafter: Mark Gallagher, ANE/DP/P&A, Wang 1533R
86-679 - 88 - 4
SUPPLEMENTAL QUESTIONS BY THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST TO THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND RESPONSES THERETO:
Several weeks ago a team of American doctors from Harvard
Are you aware of this tean?
issues raised by these doctors?
report of its kindings.
We have frequently discussed with the GOI Our opposition ra kafsh practices such as those cited by the physicians,
f1a444:6 portion of Supplemental Questions are retained in *Vinmir. Elles.
The Lawyer's Committee for Human Rights in New York wrote Prime Minister Shamir to express grave concerns about : systematic beatings of Palestinians in custody; excessive force to quell violent street demonstrations; the institutionalized use of coercive interrogation methods against Palestinians; and incommunicado detention for 18 days with no judicial oversight.
Is any progress being made on these problems?
Are the conclusions of the Lawyer's Committee
We are not in a position to confirm or deny the accuracy
of the conclusions reached by the Lawyer's Committee.
However, we have forcefully protested beatings of civilians and physical abuse of Palestinians in custody.
Israeli officials are well aware of our objection to the
use of "physical pressure" during interrogation, we have repeatedly discussed the fact that the use of
incommunicado detention makes it very difficult to confirm
or deny allegations of torture and mistreatment.
As to the problem posed by rioting, we believe that it is
difficult to judge precisely in each situation the amount of force necessary to restore order. We have continued to
urge that Israel act with restraint, and use force only in
clear-cut life threatening situations.