Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Minister Van Loan Celebrates Israel’s 62nd Anniversary

The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today marked the 62nd year of Israel’s independence by highlighting Israel’s proud accomplishments and its strong and diversified economic relations with Canada enhanced by free trade.

“Generations of Israelis have worked to create a country that is today regarded around the world as home to a dynamic and innovative economy,” said Minister Van Loan. “Canada is proud of its long-time friendship with Israel, which is rooted in our shared values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”

In particular, the Minister noted that collaboration between the two countries has been strengthened in recent years through increased cooperation in such areas as trade and investment. Bilateral merchandise trade has more than doubled since the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement’s implementation in 1997: from $507.3 million in 1996 to $1.3 billion in 2009.

“The innovation and investment elements of our relationship are equally promising for the future,” the Minister said. The Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation has proven to be valuable in nurturing innovative linkages and promoting collaborative research between Canadian and Israeli firms.

“This initiative has been a great success and an important driver of cooperation between our countries, benefiting our economies in a time of fragile recovery,” said Minister Van Loan. “This partnership is bringing new technologies to market that make us both more competitive and innovative.”

In addition, Canada and Israel collaborate in areas such as public security, defence, legal assistance, education and culture.

At an event hosted by the Embassy of Israel in Ottawa tonight, Minister Van Loan also highlighted the extensive people-to-people ties that are one of the underlying strengths of the relationship between Canada and Israel. The Government of Canada looks forward to a future of cooperation, friendship and achievement between Canada and Israel.