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Canada, Israel Conclude FTA Talks

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

22 July 2015

Canada and Israel have concluded negotiations toward an expanded and modernized free trade agreement (FTA).

The modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) will reduce or eliminate Israeli tariffs on a range of agricultural, fish, and seafood products. It will also provide duty-free access to the Israeli market, subject to quotas, for certain items.

It was agreed that Canada will not eliminate tariffs on "supply-managed products," such as dairy, poultry, and eggs, above quotas, but these quotas will be increased.

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

Since the CITFA entered into force in 1997, two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Israel has tripled, reaching CAD1.6bn (USD1.2bn) in 2014. The original CIFTA eliminated tariffs on all industrial products, and on some agricultural and fisheries products. Further tariff concessions were implemented in 2003 on additional agricultural and fisheries products.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said: "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."

Canada and Israel will now undertake a legal review of the FTA text, to ensure its clarity, accuracy, and consistency. Once this is complete, the final agreed-upon text will be prepared for official signature.

TAGS: environment | tax | business | free trade agreement (FTA) | commerce | intellectual property | tariffs | trade treaty | Israel | food | agreements | e-commerce | Canada | tax reform | trade

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