Trade & investment

Palestine is rich in both history and culture. It is situated at the crossroads between Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Palestine has a unique blend of languages, cultures and religious beliefs. It is also home to some of the most significant religious sites in the world.

Book an appointment.

Book an appointment with our Trade and Investment Department to discuss your needs
Book an Appointment

According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC):

  • Palestine is the 185th largest export economy in the world.

  • In 2017, Palestine exported $94.8 million worth of goods and services and imported $935 million. It has a negative trade balance of $840 million.

  • GDP per capita is $4.89k.

  • The top Palestinian exports are tropical fruits, scrap iron, packaged medicaments, building stone and pure olive oil.

  • The top imports are cars, cement, baked goods, chocolate and frozen bovine meat.

  • Top export destinations are: Jordan, Belarus, Kuwait, the United States and Turkey.

  • Top import origins are: Jordan, Egypt, South Korea, Germany and Turkey.

UK businesses operating in the Palestinian Territories include but are not limited to:

Strategic Sectors for Investment

Palestine has comparative advantages in a wide array of investment sectors. Discover them below.

Renewable energy
Renewable energy
Food and beverage industry
Food and beverage industry
Agriculture
Agriculture
Drugs and pharmaceuticals
Drugs and pharmaceuticals
Tourism sector
Tourism sector
Textiles and garments
Textiles and garments
Stone and marble
Stone and marble
Education sector
Education sector
Construction & real estate
Construction & real estate

Why Palestinian produce?

  • When considering Palestinian produce as a potential competitive opportunity, know this:

Technical and chemical aids to plant and mixed holdings

  • Out of 1,207,061 dunums of agricultural land, 1,029,280 dunums are cultivated and devoted to growing fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs.

  • 91% of cultivated land is found in the West Bank, with large cultivation areas in Jenin, Hebron and Nablus.

  • Agricultural enterprises use a variety of technical and chemical aids to production. These figures can be improved in accordance with market requirements and restrictions.

  • Processing and packaging are controlled by a few large operators and large investments have been directed into capacity building and branding.

  • Climate diversity allows for the growth of a variety of agricultural products year-round.

How to register a company in Palestine

Below, please find the stipulations of the Ministry of National Economy, operating under the Jordanian Law of Companies No.12 of 1964, for registering a company in Palestine:

 

  1. If the foreign partners are resident within territories under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, work permits must be obtained from the Palestinian Authority.
  2. All company documents issued in the company’s country of origin must be submitted to the Ministry.
  3. These will be studied by the Companies’ Controller who is responsible for granting approval.
  4. Register the company name, which must be checked by the Ministry to ensure that it is not taken.
  5. For registration fees, please contact the mission.

Note:

Any foreign company planning to operate within Palestine must register as a foreign company, and submitting an application for registration within a month of its establishment in Palestine.

This differs in the Gaza Strip, which is operating under the Companies Law No.18 of 1929 and the Ordinary Companies’ Law No.19 of 1930.

For more information, please contact the mission.

Obtain an investment registration certificate

Taxation

Palestinian Tax

  • The 1998 Investment Promotion Law and its Amendments are necessary to support the development of industrial free zones, coupled with providing a special incentive for investors including certain income and customs tax exemptions.

  • The Palestinian Authority has issued Income Tax Law (No.17 of 2004) which aims to promote investment in the Palestinian Territories. This has:
  • Unified the legal framework in both parts of Palestine

  • Increased the tax base by lowering exemptions.

  • Decreased rates.

  • Unified the income tax rate on all commercial establishments.

  • Foreign Dividend Tax:

  • A 15% tax is withheld at source from dividends distributed in Palestine to shareholders of a foreign company.

  • There are no taxes due on dividends distributed to shareholders of Palestinian companies regardless of where they live or their nationality, and regardless of whether they are an individual or a company.

  • An automatic deduction at the source of 25% is withheld from companies, unless companies or individuals obtain a Deduction at the Source Certificate, which grants a reduced rate that ranges between zero and five percent. Applications for these certificates are available from the district tax offices.

Individual Income Tax

  • A new income tax law was passed in 2001, which was followed by presidential decree No. 8 in 2011.

  • This resulted in a change from a tax rate bracket of 5-20% to 5-15%.

  • If the annual income of the individual is lower than the low-income tax-exempt status, which is altered annually, the taxpayer does not have to file an annual tax report.

  • The tax rates payable by Palestinian residents as of 2011 (calculated before applicable tax credits are applied).

Annual Income, in NIS Tax Rate
1-75,000 5%
75,001-150,000 10%
150,001 + 15%

Value-Added Tax (VAT): Consumption-based tax imposed on all local goods and services at a rate of 16%.

VAT Categories

Very small companies with annual sales under $12,000:
  • Exempt from VAT payments.
  • Must declare sales on a self-assessed report at the end of each tax year.
Small companies with annual sales under $50,000:
  • Pay 16% VAT.
  • Do not have the right to issue a VAT invoice.
Large companies with annual sales above $50,000:
  • Pay 16% VAT.
  • Can issue a VAT invoice.
Non-profit organizations:
  • Exempt from paying VAT.

Trade Mission

We aim to support British efforts within the Department for International Trade alongside the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) to ensure the success of the United Kingdom’s trade relationship with the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Our mission is to facilitate this effort.

Her Excellency, Abeer Odeh, Minister of National Economy and the International Trade Secretary.

  • In February 2019 the UK and the Palestinian Authority signed a trade continuity agreement.

  • The Palestinian Authority is the UK’s 186th largest trading partner, with £17 million total trade in goods and services between them in 2017.

  • Between 2002-2017, EU goods exported to Palestine increased by almost 700%. Goods imported into the EU from Palestine increased by 105%.

Trade in goods Trade in services Total trade
UK exports to the Palestinian Authority £3M £12M £15M
UK imports from the Palestinian Authority 0 £2M £2M
Total trade £3M £14M £17M

To support the ambitions of the Palestinian Authority we aim to promote investment in Palestine by:

  • Providing guarantees to all investors and investments operating in Palestine.

  • Granting incentives to investors.

  • Providing an appropriate investment environment.

Book a Business Appointment

Book an appointment with our Trade and Investment Department to discuss your needs

    Contact Form
    Your Name (required)
    Email Address (required)

    * Required


    FAQ

    Browse all

    There are various advantages including an educated and multilingual labor force, as well as governmental policies that have been strongly advocating and encouraging trade and investment internationally. Moreover, geographically, Palestine is a point of contact between Europe, Asia and Africa, and is beneficial as established contacts in the UAE can be a route into Palestine.

    In addition to that, the free trade agreement with the EU regarding industrial products, coupled with decreased duties on EU agricultural exports to Palestine are big advantages to investing and trading with in the territories.

    There are also social benefits, including increasing private sector employment, income generation and an increase in the standards of living. This could help contribute to the stabilization of the region, alongside a fair political settlement.

    The Interim Association Agreement was concluded in 1997 on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. This established the trade and cooperation framework between Palestine and the European Union which includes: duty-free access to EU markets for Palestinian industrial goods, as well as duty free quotas for agricultural, agri-business, and fishery products. This was reinforced in January 2012, in which there were duty and quota free imports of Palestinian agricultural, processed foods, and fish products to the EU.

    Furthermore, Palestine is also included in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in 2004, which aims to facilitate the building of infrastructure institutions and human resources development utilizing EU support. The ENP Action Plan was adopted in March 2013.

    The Office of the Quartet Representative (OQR) has been aiming to exponentially grow the Palestinian economy through an economic initiative. However, this is reliant upon cooperation from Israel, in which the UK Department for International Trade has emphasized that studies have demonstrated that the Palestinian economy would be 80-85% larger if the restrictions were not in place.

    Nevertheless, the Palestinian Authority is very keen on expanding trade and investment within the territories, and alongside the help of international donors such as the Department for International Development (DFID) with their Palestinian Market Development Programme, this makes it much more viable.

    The Palestinian Territories operate according to lists: A1, A2 and B.

    • Goods imported under list A1 – locally produced in Jordan, Egypt or in other Arab countries.
    • Goods imported under list A2 – can be important from Arab, Islamic or other countries.
    • Goods imported under list B – goods imported subject to Israeli standards. However, the Palestinian Authority has the power to change from time to time the rates of customs, purchase taxes, levies and other charges on the goods on List B of basic food items and other goods for the Palestinian economic development program.

    This is an administrative procedure in which an application and support documentation must be submitted prior to importing. This is in order to monitor the movement of goods through the Palestinian Territories. An import license is required IF:

    1. Imports are subject to quotas such as in the case of agriculture and goods in lists A1, A2, and B.
    2. Public health is involved (such as meat and pharmaceuticals) a license is required to ensure that imports meet Palestinian standards.
    3. Imports include petroleum and gas, telecommunications equipment and motor vehicles.
    4. Agricultural (mainly fresh and processed agricultural products) and defense-related items are subject to prior licensing. Other types of agricultural products are granted automatic license when health, labelling, phytosanitary and veterinary requirements are met. Certain industrial products, are granted a license automatically, if all requirements are met (i.e., standards and other technical requirements). In fact, this license is maintained only for monitoring purposes.

    Some of the products that require import licenses according to the Israeli import policy:

    • Almost all motor vehicles
    • Vegetable products
    • Agricultural machinery
    • Leather
    • Processed food
    • Arms
    • Live animals and live products

    Pharmaceuticals

    Ensuring the provision of:

    1. Import licenses
    2. Certificates of Origin
    3. Standards and Testing
    4. Sanitary and Phytosanitary Regulations

    Marking, Labelling and Packaging

    1. Internationally controlled substances such as narcotic drugs.
    2. Imports of motor vehicles older than 3 years according to Article 3 Part 11(a) in the Paris Protocol.
    3. Imports from countries which prohibit or limit imports with Israel, excluding goods listed in list A1 and A2.

    The UK Department for International Trade warns of challenges more specific to the Palestinian Territories including:

    1. An economy reliant on foreign aid
    2. Restrictions imposed by Israeli authorities
    3. Import/Export restrictions (especially Gaza)
    4. High transportation costs
    5. Land/Property registration

    • Maximum 45 hour work weeks.
    • Annual leave: Minimum 14 days for the first 5 years of employment; minimum 21 thereafter.
    • Sick leave: Days 1-14=100% of salary; days 15-28=50% of salary
    • Minimum wage: 1450 NIS = 324 GBP (introduced in 2012)
    • This is a key advantage given the low-cost labour force.

    Palestinian Labour Law reinforces that discrimination between men and women during employment and employment procedures is prohibited. However, additional working hours during pregnancy or 6 months after birth are prohibited, as well as night working hours (excluding jobs identified by the Council of Minister). A woman employment for over 180 days prior to delivering a child has a 10 week childbirth paid vacation, and 6 weeks of which have to be after giving birth. Her job may not be terminated in the meantime.

    Usually they are expected to be solved through negotiations within each establishment. However, if a dispute cannot be resolved, the parties have the right to attempt to reconcile through the Ministry of Labour. If the reconciliation officer fails to resolve the dispute within 10 days, the minister must refer this to the reconciliation committee. If this also fails to resolve the dispute within 2 weeks, the parties can resort to court.