This week, Assistant United States Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East L. Daniel Mullaney led a U.S. delegation to Jerusalem, Israel for a meeting of the Joint Committee of the United States-Israel Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The Joint Committee meeting allowed the United States to explore collaborative efforts to increase bilateral trade and investment with Israel, which was America’s first FTA partner.
During the meeting, which was held on February 16, 2012, the two sides noted progress made in pursuing the objectives of their August 2011 work plan agreed to by Deputy United States Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro and Director General Sharon Kedmi last summer, and agreed on further initiatives during 2012. Notably, they addressed a number of specific standards-related impediments to trade and committed to a 2012 standards dialogue to address specific and broader standards issues. They also agreed to establish an ad hoc working group to facilitate claims of duty-free status for goods that qualify under the FTA and explored options for liberalizing trade in services. Additionally, progress was made during the meeting towards a new agreement on trade in agricultural products and towards resolving outstanding sanitary and phyto-sanitary issues.