The Consulate General of Israel in Toronto serves as the official representative office of the Government of Israel in Ontario and the Western Provinces. The Consulate’s mission, in addition to the consular services it provides to Israeli and other interested citizens, is to promote mutually beneficial cooperation between Israel and our Canadian partners in government and across civil society in all fields of mutual interest, with particular focus on hi-tech and innovation, cultural exchange, and inter-community relations. Founded on the bedrock of shared values and shared interests, the consulate works with local partners to build platforms for exchange which harness our respective strengths and qualities to enhance mutual understanding and deliver real benefits to Israel and Canada alike.
Take your business to the next level. Explore opportunities to grow your footprint in Israel with the help of our Trade Commissioner Service (TCS), and read more about the trade relationship between the two countries, market facts and other insights.
What is the CIFTA?
In 2014, Canada and Israel agreed to modernize the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA), a goods-only agreement in force since January 1, 1997. Through two phases of negotiations in 2014-2015 and 2017-2018, Canada and Israel updated four chapters and added nine new chapters to the CIFTA.
The modernized CIFTA improves access to the Israeli market for Canadian companies through further elimination and reduction of tariffs on agricultural, agri-food and fisheries products. With the addition of new inclusive trade provisions on gender, small and medium-sized enterprises and corporate social responsibility, as well as new labour and environmental protections, the modernized CIFTA signals the importance of inclusive trade and ensuring that the benefits and opportunities that flow from trade and investment are widely shared.
Since CIFTA first came into effect over two decades ago, Canada’s two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Israel was valued at more than $1.6 billion in 2020
- The original Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement came into effect over 20 years ago, on January 1, 1997.
- Two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Israel was valued at more than $1.6 billion in 2020
- Science and technology are significant drivers of the Israeli economy.
Modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement: Benefits for Canada
As one of Canada’s long-standing trading partners, Israel represents an important market for Canadian goods and services. Through the modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA), Canada and Israel are creating the right conditions for increased trade and new opportunities to further expand the Canada-Israel economic partnership.
- The modernized CIFTA includes new, inclusive trade elements that are highlighted in four updated chapters and nine new chapters.
- The modernized CIFTA increases market access by further reducing tariffs on Canadian exports to the Israeli market, providing new and improved market access for virtually 100% of Canadian exports of agricultural, agri-food and fish and seafood products.
- It also improves the ways in which Canadians do business in Israel by enhancing border efficiencies, increasing regulatory transparency and reducing red tape.
- The modernized CIFTA and also includes updates to the dispute settlement mechanism, goods market access, rules of origin, institutional provisions to enhance transparency and rules of origin chapters.
Modernization overview and chapters
Through two phases of negotiations between 2014 and 2018, Canada and Israel updated four existing chapters in the Agreement and added nine new chapters. The modernized CIFTA also adds a provision on corporate social responsibility. The modernized CIFTA is more than just an ambitious trade agreement; it is the product of bilateral cooperation to expand the Agreement to include an inclusive approach to trade, which seeks to ensure that Canadians more broadly share the benefits and opportunities that flow from trade and investment.
- Goods market access: Provides new and improved commercially meaningful market access through the reduction or elimination of additional Israeli tariffs on agriculture, fish and seafood products that are of export interest to Canadian stakeholders.
- Rules of origin: Recognizes the presence of global value chains and the integrated nature of North American production and streamlines the provisions for obtaining preferential tariff treatment.
- Dispute settlement: Improves the efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of the dispute settlement mechanism allowing Canada and Israel to cooperate in addressing and seeking to resolve unjustified non-tariff barriers.
- Institutional provisions: Provides a more detailed and robust institutional structure for administration of the Agreement and to enhance transparency.
- Electronic commerce: Commits Canada and Israel to refrain from introducing tariff and other barriers to electronic commerce.
- Intellectual property (IP): Affirms the commitments of Canada and Israel under the World Trade Organization to ensure protection for IP rights, including commitments to facilitate cooperation between Canada and Israel to combat IP rights infringement and explores ways to expedite the examination of patent applications. The IP chapter includes provisions on cooperation on IP rights enforcement between both Canada and Israel, as well as a consultation mechanism to aid in bilateral IP-related matters.
- Sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS): Includes provisions to promote bilateral cooperation and transparency on SPS-related issues. Ensuring early and effective cooperation on issues related to food safety, animal, and plant health will help strengthen the protection of Canada’s environment and food supply, while avoiding unjustified barriers to trade.
- Technical barriers to trade: Ensures that technical regulation, conformity assessment procedures, and other standards-related measures cannot be used as unjustified barriers to trade. The chapter will help Canadian exporters by creating a mechanism to minimize, and seek to resolve, the negative impacts of discriminatory or overly burdensome regulatory requirements.
- Trade and environment: Ensures that both Canada and Israel pursue high levels of environmental protection while realizing the benefit of liberalized trade, with recourse to dispute settlement mechanisms.
- Trade and labour: Ensures effective enforcement of labour law that should in turn embody and provide protection for international labour standards, with recourse to an enforceable binding dispute settlement mechanism.
- Trade facilitation: Enhances border efficiencies, increases regulatory transparency, and reduces red tape for Canadian businesses.
- Trade and gender: This chapter acknowledges the importance of incorporating a gender perspective into economic and trade issues to ensure that economic growth benefits everyone. The chapter provides a framework for Canada and Israel to cooperate on issues related to trade and gender. It establishes a bilateral committee to perform accountability, transparency, and advisory functions, and coordinate and facilitate cooperation activities.
- Trade and small and medium enterprises (SMEs): This chapter includes general provisions that recognize the importance of SMEs to the economies of Canada and Israel, which facilitates cooperation activities and information sharing including a dedicated SME website. It also establishes an SME committee to perform accountability, transparency, and advisory functions, and coordinate and facilitate cooperation activities.
- Corporate social responsibility: These provisions, found in the Other Provisions chapter, include a commitment to encourage the use of voluntary CSR standards with specific reference to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Guidelines for Multi-National Enterprises.