On July 21, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that negotiations toward an expanded and modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) had concluded. “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,” said Harper.
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 amended, 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, labor and environment.
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 countries in the years ahead. It will support Canadian businesses and investors, deepen trade and investment linkages, and further strengthen Canada’s bilateral relationship with Israel.