Not made in Israel policy nixed by firm

JERUSALEM — Dutch-based Philips Electronics will no longer provide "not-made-in-Israel" documentation for purchasers who refuse to buy goods manufactured here, the company told the Jerusalem Post this week.

Last month, company spokesman Ben Geerts admitted that "if [customers] specifically ask for negative source-of-origin documentation, we will provide it and we have done so in the past."

However, during a meeting last week with Yossi Gal, Israel's Ambassador to the Netherlands, Philips chair and president Cornelis Boonstra said he has issued a directive banning the practice. During the meeting, Boonstra described the policy of issuing negative documentation as "absurd."

Boonstra said that at the company's forthcoming shareholders' meeting, he will say the policy was wrong and that it has been changed, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Furthermore, Boonstra said the company intends to open an office in Israel before the end of the year.

Philips spokeswoman Alison Screeton confirmed the policy change.

"There were some inconsistencies in company policy concerning negative source-of-origin documentation, particularly regarding Israel," she said. "On discovering this, we immediately looked into the matter with some urgency and as a result have issued new instructions that will end this practice and our inconsistencies. This will be monitored very closely."

Concerning the opening of an office in Israel, Screeton said the company has appointed someone to investigate business possibilities there, but stressed that "this is only at the earliest stages."

An example of the type of notice Philips has decided it will no longer distribute was issued for a company office in Dubai on Nov. 11 of last year. The notice, concerning Philips Domestic Appliances and Personal Care, confirmed that certain goods shipped to Africa "are not of Israeli origin, nor do they contain materials of Israeli origin, nor constitute part of German reparation goods to Israel."