Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement
On October 10, 2010, the Honourable Peter Van Loan, former Minister of International Trade, and his Israeli counterpart Binyamin Ben Eliezer, Israel's then Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour, announced that Canada and Israel were to undertake steps toward modernizing the existing Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA). The Ministers agreed that officials would start exploratory talks in order to work on moving beyond the original, first-generation trade agreement that is currently in place by significantly expanding its application. (See News Release: Harper Government Announces Exploratory Talks to Expand the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement)
The CIFTA entered into force on January 1, 1997, eliminating tariffs on all industrial products manufactured in Canada and Israel as well as a limited number of agricultural and fisheries products. Between 1999 and 2003, additional agricultural and agri-food tariff reductions on goods previously excluded from the Agreement were successfully negotiated. This included preferences for many of Canada's top agricultural and agri-food exports to Israel. The CIFTA does not include substantive provisions in areas such as services, investment and government procurement, nor does the Agreement have parallel agreements on labour cooperation or the environment.
Canada-Israel bilateral goods trade has more than doubled since the inception of CIFTA, from $507 million in 1996 to $1.4 billion in 2010. Canada's consideration of whether and to what extent to expand the coverage of the CIFTA will take into account, inter alia, potential stakeholder interests through a public consultation process.
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