No change in Israeli goods labelling, government says
August 7, 2012 | Joanne Hill - Correspondent
TORONTO-OTTAWA – The United Church of Canada (UCC) can ask all they want but the Canadian government isn’t about to start labelling ‘settlement’ goods as such or exempting them from Free Trade agreements.
The report by the UCC’s Working Group on Israel/Palestine Policy encourages church members to ask the Canadian government to “ensure that all products produced in the settlements be labelled clearly and differently from products of Israel” and also to “ensure that products produced in the settlements not be given preferential treatment under the Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement.”
Me’shel Gulliver Bélanger, spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, was asked whether the government would do either of those things.
In short: no, because it would violate agreements between the Palestinian Authority and Canada, as well as agreements between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel.
“In the 1999 Joint Canadian-Palestinian Framework for Economic Cooperation and Trade, Canada and the Palestinian Authority agreed that goods market access preferences under the CIFTA [Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement] applied to goods originating from, or destined to, the West Bank and Gaza,” said Bélanger.
“This framework is consistent with the April 1994 Protocol on Economic Relations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization; the August 1995 Protocol on Further Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization; and the September 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”
Bélanger continued, “Until such time as Israeli and Palestinian authorities mutually agree to a definition of their respective territories, the Canadian-Palestinian Framework for Economic Cooperation and Trade will continue to recognize that CIFTA’s market access preferences apply to goods to and from the West Bank and Gaza.”