BERLIN – The European Court of Justice is expected to make a preliminary ruling in the coming weeks in regards to levying a customs duty on Israeli products produced in settlements, German weekly Der Spiegel reported over the weekend.
The decision is expected to set the taxation policy for 27 European Union member states on Israeli goods originating in the territories.
The European court's judges will make a decision on a matter referred to them by a tax court in the German city of Hamburg, which has been discussing a lawsuit against customs authorities in Germany for imposing a tax on the products of the Soda-Club company due to the location of its main factory in the settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim.
Soda-Club is the world's largest manufacturer of home carbonation systems. The company has several branches in Europe, including in Germany.
According to a Der Spiegel report, Hamburg customs agents recently detained a shipment of Soda-Club products and contacted their Israeli counterparts to find out where exactly the products were made. According to the Israeli response, they had been made in an area "under Israeli customs administration". The Hamburg customs officers were unsatisfied with this answer.
German company Brita, which imported the products, was required by the customs authorities to pay 19,155 in tax for the shipment. In response, the company filed a lawsuit with a Hamburg court against the demand. Due to the sensitivity of the matter, the judges decided to consult the European Court of Justice.
'Soda Club not a political company'The decision to levy the customs tax is a significant milestone, as for the first time the EU's inclination to boycott goods produced in the territories is translated into concrete orders to customs officers in one of Europe's ports.
Four years ago, the EU required Israel to mark the production place on goods arriving from the territories so that custom duties can be imposed on them.
The Soda-Club company said in response, "The company manufactures its products in different places in the world, as well as in its two factories in Israel: In Ashkelon and in Mishor Adumim.
"Soda-Club acts in accordance with the regulations and rules which apply to the company, including the customs payments imposed on it by law. Soda-Club is not a political company and does not promote any issue or political agenda."
Yehudit Yahav contributed to this report