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Canada, Israeli Sign FTA

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

04 June 2018

Canada and Israel have signed a modernized free trade agreement (FTA).

The original FTA came into effect on January 1, 1997. When it entered into force, it was a goods-only agreement. Talks to modernize the agreement began in 2014 and the new agreement was signed on May 28.

The modernized FTA includes further tariff reductions and eliminations for agriculture and agri-food products, which will provide improved access for Canadian exporters to the Israeli market.

The new agreement contains chapters on labor, the environment, trade and gender, and SMEs, as well as provisions on corporate social responsibility. There are also new provisions to make the dispute-settlement mechanism more effective, effective, and transparent.

Francois-Philippe Champagne, Canada's Minister of International Trade, said: "A strengthened economic partnership with Israel will help create better market access opportunities for Canadian businesses and eliminate tariffs in many sectors. New progressive elements on gender, on small- and medium-sized enterprises, and on corporate social responsibility, as well as labor and environmental protections, will help ensure that the benefits that flow from trade are more widely shared."

Eli Cohen, Minister of the Economy and Industry of Israel, said: "In 1997, Israel became the third country to sign a free trade agreement with Canada. Since then, the trade between Canada and Israel has increased significantly. Today we are witnessing a historic step in the trade relations between the two countries with the signing of the upgraded agreement. The upgraded free agreement between Canada and Israel will open new opportunities for Israeli exports to this significant market."

Since 1997, two-way merchandise has more than tripled, reaching CAD1.7bn (USD1.3bn) in 2017. Canada's agriculture and agri-food exports to Israel, including lentils, chickpeas, and canola seeds, totalled CAD56.8m in 2017.

TAGS: environment | business | free trade agreement (FTA) | export duty | tariffs | Israel | food | Canada | import duty | trade

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