On May 28, 2018, Global Affairs Canada announced that the Hon. François-Phillippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade, and Eli Cohen, Israel’s Minister of the Economy and Industry, signed the modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA), known as the Canada – Israel Free Trade Amending Protocol 2018. Minister Champagne underlined the importance of the agreement as an engine of growth and prosperity for both countries. The announcement said:

Canada and Israel have modernized the original CIFTA to include progressive elements, such as dedicated chapters on labour, the environment, trade and gender, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as provisions on corporate social responsibility. New provisions will also help to make the dispute-settlement mechanism more efficient, effective and transparent.

The modernized CIFTA also includes further tariff reductions and eliminations for agricultural and agri-food products, which will provide improved access for Canadian exporters to the Israeli market. Better access for service suppliers in sectors where Canadians excel will help create more opportunities for established and first-time exporters and generating new jobs at home.

The original CIFTA came into effect on January 1, 1997. Since 1997, Canada’s two-way merchandise trade with Israel has more than tripled, reaching $1.7 billion in 2017.