Israeli food exports during the first quarter of 2003 amounted to US$121m, an increased of 14% in terms of sales returns in US dollars, compared with the same period last year.

Gezy Kaplan, chairman of the Food Division at the Manufacturers Association of Israel, said that during the first quarter, the export of confectionery and bakery products was up 65%. He explained that the reasons for the increase in export volume are due to shipments before the Passover holiday and as a result of an intensive sales promotion campaign in the US for Israeli food products.

Out of the total export volume, 51.5% of the food products went to the EU, with 15.5% destined for the US. Kaplan added that during the first quarter of 2003 the import of food products to Israel amounted to US$210m, a 14.6% decline compared with the same period last year. In analysing the import data, 50.6% of the food products came from the EU, and 28.2% from the US.