Canadian Minister of International Trade Peter Van Loan visited Israel for two days last week with the purpose of promoting closer commercial ties, promoting trade, investment and innovation, and beginning negotiations to expand the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
“The Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement has been tremendously beneficial for our two countries. Two-way merchandise trade has more than doubled since its implementation,” said Minister Van Loan.
“Canada’s ties to Israel are very deep, and our friendship is important. Our government is building on these ties and looking at opportunities to expand our trade relationship. We are committed to creating new sources of jobs, growth and prosperity for both of our countries in the years ahead.”
During the trip, Van Loan held a meeting with Israel’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour, Binyamin Ben Eliezer, in Tel Aviv. The purpose of the talk was to discuss ways to expand the FTA. The meeting concluded with an agreement that will see officials from both countries begin dialogue to “significantly expand (the FTA's) application.”
“Expanding the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement is part of the Harper government’s broad and ambitious free trade agenda. In just four years, our government has negotiated new trade agreements with eight countries, is in negotiation with close to 50 others, and is now expanding the three first-generation agreements signed by the former government,” said Van Loan.
Van Loan also met with Israel’s Minister of Science and Technology, Daniel Hershkowitz, in Tel Aviv. They discussed ways to increase cooperation in the areas of science and technology.
'Many opportunities for cooperation'
During the same visit to Tel Aviv, Van Loan spoke to the head scientist from the Israeli Minsitry of Industry, Trade and Labour, Dr. Eli Opper. They talked about joint innovation programs.
“There are a great many opportunities for cooperation between Israel and Canada when it comes to the commercialization of science,” said Van Loan. “Canada and Israel can be even more effective partners in the areas of technology collaboration, research and development, and innovation commercialization. We hope to see increased collaboration that will bring significant benefits to both our countries, including future economic growth, improved health and environmental sustainability.”
Van Loan’s trip also included a visit to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., located in Petach-Tikva. There he met with President and CEO Shlomo Yanai. The Israeli company is an innovator in the pharmaceutical industry and has offices and manufacturing facilities in Canada.
During his Israeli trip, Van Loan highlighted Canada’s “competitive advantage as a business and investment destination.”
Van Loan visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial where he placed a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance in honour of the victims of the Holocaust.
Since the FTA came into effect in 1997, trade between both nations has doubled, leading to $1.3 billion in goods flowing back and forth in 2009. Israel is Canada’s sixth-largest export market in the region.
Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life
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