OTTAWA (Oct. 6)
A new era in Canadian-Israel trade relations was marked here yesterday with the signing of a $2, 500, 000 contract for the sale of telephone equipment to Israel, the first such sale to be made by a Canadian firm under a Federally sponsored credit loan arrangement to the Israeli Government.
The agreement, which was signed by Canadian Trade Minister Mitchell Sharp and Max Varon, Israel Charge d’Affaires, provides for repayment to begin in two years and to be made in 21 semi-annual installments. The equipment will be supplied by Automatic Electric (Canada) a subsidiary of an American firm. It includes central office and associated equipment for the installation of 16,400 automatic telephone lines and 18,500 terminals by the Israel Ministry of Posts.
At the signing ceremonies, Mr. Sharp stressed that the extension of the credit facilities of the Canadian Government to Israel opens the door for greater trade between the two nations. He emphasized that Canada would seek to buy more goods from Israel in the future as it created the means for greater market for Canadian products. Mr. Varon expressed the gratitude of Israel for the new facilities now offered his country. He too expressed the hope that this would mark the start of broader two-way trade relations between the two nations.
The deal is regarded in Canada as a significant shift in trading patterns. While Israel ranks as Canada’s biggest customer in the Middle East, shipments have traditionally been confined to food stuffs and raw materials.
Last year Canadian exports to Israel totaled $6, 231, 683. Wheat headed the list at about $1, 650, 000; then came asbestos, aluminum, wood pulp, and lumber. The present transaction is the first important sale of manufactured goods to Israel. Shipments are expected to start within a few weeks. Negotiations have covered almost a full year.
Imports to Canada from Israel in 1962 were headed by $2,103,000 in unset diamonds, $1, 260, 000 worth of cotton yarn, $509,000 in oranges, and plywood at close to $465,000–for a total of $5, 646,141.