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Occupied territories Swiss review product labels from Israeli settlements

Switzerland's main retailers have already adapted their food labels for herbs imported from the occupied Palestinian territories. The Swiss government is willing to review its regulations 

(Keystone)

The government has rejected a proposed import ban on products from Israeli settlements in occupied territories, but agreed to review rules on product labels.

In response to a question by the Social Democratic parliamentarian, Carlo Sommaruga, the government said there was no sufficient legal basis to consider a potential ban.

However, it said that the current regulation is not clear enough and might therefore require more precise labels.

Sommaruga argued clear product labels were in the interest of consumers.

Under current Swiss regulations, products from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories must not be labelled as Israeli products but can be described as originating from the Gaza Strip, the West Bank or East Jerusalem.

The government reiterated that Switzerland recognised Israel’s borders before the 1967 military conflict. However, it considers all Palestinian territory occupied by Israel as illegal under international humanitarian law.

Israel represents a key commercial partner and export market in the Middle East, according to the Swiss foreign ministry. Since 1993, there exists a free trade agreement between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – including Switzerland - and Israel.

There around 19,500 Swiss citizens living in Israel - the largest colony of Swiss expats in the region.

swissinfo.ch with agencies/ug


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