PalTrade: Gaza exports at near zero; imports on steady decline

By Ma’an News Agency – 1 Oct 2009

www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=228894

Bethlehem – Ma’an – Since February 2009 Gaza’s export economy included 684,000 carnation flowers, 14 trucks worth for Valentine’s Day in Holland, a PalTrade report announced this week.

The group, a consortium of all major Palestinian private sector institutions, is the only independent source of crossings information, which is used by the Quartet, the World Bank, the US Security Coordinator, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and others.

According to the report only 1.7% of the planned produce exports from Gaza have actually left the Strip. The report also notes that the “monthly average exports in the period before the crisis was 1,380 truckloads per month (70 truckloads per day), composed of furniture, garments, cash crops, vegetables, processed food, metal products, handicrafts, and other cargo types.”

Imports

PalTrade released the following statistics for imports to the Strip in August:

Scheduled days for operations (Karni) 26 /(Kerem Shalom)26
Scheduled closure days 5 / 5
Unscheduled closure days 17 / 4
Actual days of operation 9 / 22
Total exports (truckloads) 0 / 0
Total imports (truckloads) 632 / 1,816
Humanitarian imports (%) 0 / 16%
Commercial imports (%) 100% / 84%
Import volume (truckloads)/ open day 70 / 83
Import volume (truckloads)/ scheduled 24 / 70

The report found imports into the Strip had steadily decreased since March, following a 30% increase in post-war supplies, mostly humanitarian aid.

The third crossing, Nahal Oz, is used exclusively for the transport of fuel. In August, the report said 200,000 liters of diesel and 75,200 liters of petrol were allowed entry to private sector use. According to the report the Gaza marketplace is “still mostly reliant on the fuel being transferred from Egypt through the tunnels under the Rafah-Egypt border, with fuel being transferred through the tunnels at rates of nearly 100,000liters of diesel and 100,000 liters of petrol per day.”

For industrial diesel, the European Union, which pays for and orders the fuel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, ordered 11 million liters of industrial fuel (2.5 million liters per week) in August, but just over 9 million liters were actually delivered. According to the EU, Israeli officials “broadly sticks to an Israeli court ruling that says they need to allow in a minimum of 2.2 million liters/ week, which is roughly what got through in August. Sometimes more gets in, such as in September where the full amount ordered got through… In general, however, the amount that Israel will allow through is unpredictable, which is problematic.”

In a statement responding to questions about Israeli policies at the crossings, EU officials reiterated their support for the Quartet’s position, that Israel must facilitate “the opening of the crossings to allow for the unimpeded flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods, and persons to and from Gaza, consistent with UN Security Council Resolution 1860.”

The full report from PalTrade can be viewed here

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