From trade to research and humanitarian projects.
Trade between Palestine and Canada will be made easier because of an economic co-operation agreement signed by the two countries recently, Waterloo businessman Shawky Fahel says.
Fahel was one of about 50 Canadian business and government officials who went on a trade mission.
The Canadian team, led by Canadian Trade Minister Sergio Marchi, visited several countries in the Middle East, but Fahel joined the team for the last four days in Palestine.
There, they opened a new representative office in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "It has been difficult to have trade deals there before because everything had to go through the Canadian Embassy in Tel Aviv."
" This is a very special day because the trade agreement will help with badly needed improvements to their economy as they embark on the creation of a new state," he said.
Signing agreement of Trade between Canada and Palestine. Present in photo: Shawky Fahel, Palestine Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Maher Masri, Canada Minister of International Trade Sergio Marchi, Joel Weiner.
Fahel, a Palestinian by birth, said the deal will open the door for imports of marble, leather, vegetables, fruit and agricultural products from Palestine and allow Canada to export a wide variety of products there.
Fahel is also the executive chair of the Canada-Palestine Health Research Foundation and the Chairman of the Canadian International Development Organization.
On the same trip, Fahel signed an agreement with the president of Palestine's Al Quds University and Joel Weiner, an associate dean of the University of Alberta faculty of medicine and dentistry.
The agreement commits the two universities to a collaborative research project that will identify risk factors associated with pre-term delivery in Palestine women.
Fahel said the goal of the health foundation is to raise between $5 million and $10 million in Canada to be used in research work in both countries.
Another project Fahel is involved with through the Canadian International Development Organization will see 50 wheelchairs and several hospital beds shipped to Tel Aviv via the Canadian department of National Defense in Trenton, ON.
Fahel said the chairs and beds are considered surplus to needs at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener, but will be valuable and appreciated in Palestine.

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