Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Tuesday announced plans for an expanded and modernized free trade agreement with Israel.
According to the announcement, the updated Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) will 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.”
The Canadian government sees Israel as an opportunity for Canadian businesses in areas such as defense, information and communications technology, life science, sustainable technologies, agriculture and agri-food, and fish and seafood.
“Canada is one of Israel’s closest friends,” Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday. “We deeply appreciate our extensive and deep cooperation with the Canadian government, which has flourished in recent years. The free trade agreement is but one example of this. This expanded and modernized agreement will further energize the trade between our countries to the benefit of both our peoples.”
Since CIFTA was enacted in 1997, Canadian trade with Israel has tripled—to $1.6 billion in 2014. Under Harper’s leadership, Canada has been an outspoken supporter of Israel in international bodies such as the United Nations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in June that Israelis believe the Jewish state has “no better friend than Canada.”
“Israel is a priority market for Canada and holds great potential for Canadian companies in a variety of sectors,” Harper said Tuesday. “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.”