By SHARON WROBEL
Local exporters are losing foreign markets and customers because of the global economic crisis and a growing anti-Israel boycott of locally made products following Operation Cast Lead, the Israel Manufacturers Association said Sunday.
“In addition to the problems and difficulties arising from the global economic crisis, 21 percent of local exporters report that they are facing problems in selling Israeli goods because of an anti-Israel boycott, mainly from the UK and Scandinavian countries,” said Yair Rotloi, chairman of the association’s foreign-trade committee.
A survey conducted among 90 exporters from a variety of sectors found that 53% had lost foreign markets and customers as a result of the global economic crisis. In addition, 62% said they were having trouble collecting payments from foreign clients, while 49% said their customers have asked to pay in installments.
Foreign customers had forced 66% of Israeli exporters to cut prices because of the economic climate, the survey showed.
Twenty-nine percent of exporters reduced business travel abroad by more than 30%, 11% cut it 20%, 6.5% reduced it 10% and 43% reported no change. Twenty-six percent of exporters said business visits by their foreign customers had declined.