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Israel’s Regulator Says Wissotzky Acted As A Green Tea Monopoly

 |  June 29, 2023

The Israel Competition Authority has recently declared Wissotzky a monopoly on green teas and herbal infusions in the country. The Economic and Industry Minister, Nir Barkat, has noted that Wissotzky has a market share of more than 70% for green tea and herbal infusions. This has allowed Wissotzky to charge higher prices than its competitors and maintain a dominant position in the sector.

The Israel Competition Authority has taken action against the monopoly stating that they have restrictions on interfering with retail shelf space, consumer retail pricing, and other practices. This has led to a failure of free market forces, as competitors have had difficulty in increasing their sales even when they offered lower prices.

Founded in Russia in 1849 and established their first factory in Israel in 1936, Wissotzky is the largest tea importer and manufacturer with more than 200 tea blends. Wissotzky entered the cold beverage market in 2016 with their Iced Tea infusions.

Minister Barkat has expressed his happiness to see the competition authority taking action after 20 years to declare a monopoly in Israel. He said “My expectation from the competition authority — subordinate to the Ministry of Economy — is to act decisively against anyone who prevents competition, acts as a monopoly and oppresses the public. I expect many more steps in this direction to follow.”

The Israel Competition Authority’s mandate includes enforcement against anti-competitive restrictive arrangements and monopolies abusing their dominant position. With clear actions being taken against Wissotzky, it will be interesting to see if more monopolies are addressed in the future.