Canada, Israel modernise free trade agreement

Ottawa, July 22 (IANS) Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Wednesday announced that his country has concluded negotiations toward an expanded and modernised free trade agreement with Israel.

“Israel is a priority market for Canada and holds great potential for Canadian companies in a variety of sectors. An expanded and modernised free trade agreement will lead to a strengthened bilateral relationship as well as an increase in jobs and opportunities for Canadians and Israelis alike,” Harper said.

The updated version of the existing free trade deal — Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) — between the two countries still awaits approval of the Canadian parliament before it becomes effective, Xinhua news agency reported.

The updated CIFTA aims to facilitate two-way trade by reduced tariffs and other barriers, enhanced cooperation and increased transparency in regulatory matters.

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

The current CIFTA came into force in 1997. Canada’s two-way merchandise trade with Israel stood at $1.2 bn Canadian dollars last year.

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