After a more than a two-year delay, the European Parliament approved a technical agreement pact on Tuesday that will make it easier to export Israeli pharmaceuticals.

The Agreements on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAAs), which passed by a vote of 379-230, will contribute to the elimination of technical barriers to trade, thereby increasing the accessibility of the country’s pharmaceuticals to EU markets, and vice versa.

An Israeli diplomatic source said some left-wing parliament members had held up the agreement for months because of political reasons.

Daniel Schwammenthal, director of the American Jewish Committee Transatlantic Institute in Brussels, welcomed the decision, though he bewailed that it had taken more than two years for the European Parliament to act on the measure that the heads of the 27 EU states had agreed on in March 2010.

“At its core, this was not a debate on the merits of the agreement. This was about politics,” Schwammenthal added.

“Some members of the European Parliament were putting their disagreements with Israel ahead of their obligations to ensure their constituents had fast access to the best and most affordable healthcare.”

He said that Israel’s pharmaceutical companies “are at the cutting edge of research, finding innovative treatments that help save lives and reduce suffering.

What’s more, through their leadership in the generics market, Israeli medicines help healthcare providers reduce spending while maintaining high quality standards.”

Schwammenthal stressed that “ACAA is simply about the interests of European patients.”

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