Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz instructed the professional staff of the Treasury and the Tax Authority to hold a public hearing on a plan to reduce customs duties on dairy products and raising ceilings on quantities to be imported under reduced tariffs. The current tariffs run between 120 and 160 percent. The possibility of lowering customs on dairy products was first broached during a protest over increases in the price of cottage cheese in the summer of 2011.
If accepted, duties would be lowered on soft cheeses, yoghurt, powdered milk, butter and sour cream. The reductions would be made in stages to allow local producers to adjust to the move. The ministry said, in a statement, "Reduction of tariffs will increase competition in the dairy field, increasing the variety of dairy products to consumers, and is likely to contribute to lower prices in the field."