PM announces expanded and modernized Free Trade Agreement with Israel

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that negotiations toward an expanded and modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) have concluded.

The modernized CIFTA will notably provide expanded market access opportunities for agricultural, fish and seafood products through the reduction or elimination of Israeli tariffs on a large number of products, and duty-free access under tariff rate quotas for certain products.

Four existing areas of the current CIFTA have been modernized, namely market access for goods, rules of origin, institutional provisions, and dispute settlement. In addition, seven new chapters have been included in the areas of trade facilitation, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, intellectual property, electronic commerce, labour, and environment.

This robust CIFTA will support Canadian businesses and investors, deepen trade and investment linkages, and further strengthen Canada’s bilateral relationship with Israel.

A modernized CIFTA will facilitate expanded bilateral commercial flows by reducing tariffs and other barriers, enhancing cooperation and increasing transparency in regulatory matters. A modernized agreement also stands to reduce transaction costs for businesses and create new opportunities for Canadian agriculture, agri-food, fish and seafood companies in the Israeli market.

Quick Facts

  • Canada values its longstanding relationship with Israel, which is based on shared values, common interests and strong political, economic, cultural and social ties.
  • CIFTA is the cornerstone of Canada’s commercial relationship with Israel. An expanded and modernized agreement will further enhance Canada’s visibility and terms of access in the Israeli market, while supporting the close bilateral relationship more generally.
  • Israel is a priority market for Canada under the Global Markets Action Plan.
  • Since CIFTA came into force in 1997, Canada’s two-way merchandise trade with Israel has tripled to $1.6 billion in 2014.
  • Key opportunities for Canadian companies exist in sectors such as defence, information and communications technology, life sciences, sustainable technologies, agriculture and agri-food, and fish and seafood.
  • The modernized CIFTA will provide expanded market access opportunities for Canadian businesses through the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers, and help in creating new sources of jobs, growth and prosperity for both of our countries in the years ahead.

“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.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper

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