Despite requests from local textile manufacturers, the Ministry of Industry and Trade will not impose a levy on textile imports from the Far East, it was reported today.

However, official notification of the decision will be delayed until an alternative aid plan for the industry has been agreed.

According to Ha'aretz newspaper, senior ministry officials felt the levy would constitute a regression in Israel's foreign trade policies and run counter to the exposure program adopted in the 1990s whereby duties on imported products, including textiles, would be reduced at a rate to allow local industry to compete.

Introducing a tariff would also hit consumers by leading to a rise in prices of locally-made clothing.