The flags of Israel and Canada.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Canada and Israel sealed negotiations over an expanded and modernized Canada- Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA), which is expected to expand trade ties between the two states.
“Canada is one of Israel’s closest friends. We have a deep appreciation for the extensive cooperation with the Canadian government, which has blossomed in recent years, and the free trade agreement is just one example of that,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a phone call with his Canadian counterpart, Stephen Harper, on Wednesday.
The new agreement will drop tariffs, update certain trade rules, and expand trade in agriculture, fish and seafood products. It will also define new areas of trade subject to the agreement including intellectual property, electronic commerce, and labor and environmental standards.
Products including chickpeas, frozen vegetables, frozen French fries, apples, wine and shrimp will have expanded duty-free access.
Tariffs will be lifted on products such as cranberries, dog and cat food and various baked goods.
“Israel is a priority market for Canada and holds great potential for Canadian companies in a variety of sectors. An expanded and modernized free trade agreement will lead to a strengthened bilateral relationship as well as an increase in jobs and opportunities for Canadians and Israelis alike,” Harper said.
The original CIFTA came into force in 1997. In the 17 years since its signing, the value of Canada’s annual two-way merchandise trade with Israel has tripled to $1.6 billion.
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