JERUSALEM, Israel – Following Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz's first trade mission to Israel, Canadian beef producers stand to benefit due to stronger agriculture ties with that country.

While meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Agriculture Minister Ms. Orit Noked, Ritz stressed the need for access to Israel for Canadian beef. Israel committed to working with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Market Access Secretariat to move Canada's request forward. In 2010, Israel's total beef imports from all countries totaled approximately $370 million.

Ritz also discussed the importance of a renewed Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement with Shalom Simhon, Israel’s Industry with Trade and Labor Minister. Total bilateral trade has more than doubled since this free-trade agreement came into force in 1997, totaling $1.4 billion in 2010, $63 million of which was agricultural goods. In 2010, Canada exported $30 million worth of agri-food and seafood to Israel.