Israeli companies have been exploiting a legal loophole to send exports — primarily gold — to North Korea despite UN sanctions on the rogue nation, a situation that was only addressed on Wednesday.
According to the Ynet news website, the Knesset’s Economic Affairs Committee approved the edict regulating Israeli exports to Pyongyang almost a decade after the sanctions were put in place.
Israel’s main export to North Korea has been gold to the value of $400,000, according to David Houry, director of exports at the Tax Authority.
Houry told the Knesset panel on Wednesday that “regrettably, there were gold exports,” and that he personally had stopped some of the export attempts, which he called a “disgrace” to Israel.
“There have hardly been any exports to North Korea since 2011; what was sent included books and dental implants,” Houry said. He presented the edict for committee approval on Wednesday in order, he said, to bring Israel in line with the rest of the world.
Committee chairman Eitan Cabel of Zionist Union sharply criticized the delay in submitting the edict for the approval, and said such a delay on a relatively straightforward issue could raise concerns over more complex issues.
The edict aims to monitor exports from Israel to North Korea, and requires a special permit for all goods sent to the country. Under the UN sanctions, exports of certain goods, such as luxury items, are forbidden, while others, such as food items and medical supplies, are permitted.