UPDATE 1-Canada's economic recovery "relatively strong" -PM Harper

Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:11pm EST

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TEL AVIV Jan 22 (Reuters) - Canada's economic recovery has been quite strong, and could continue to improve as the global economy advances, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Wednesday.

"It's not been robust but it has been a relatively strong recovery," Harper said during a question and answer session at Tel Aviv University. "But there are still too many people out of work."

Still, the number of jobs created since the recession ended has been a net 1.1 million, he said.

He said global trade was vital to the economy's success, since trade accounts for some 60 percent of economic activity.

Since 2006, Canada has signed deals with the European Union and eight other countries, bringing the number of trade deals to 42 countries.

"That's more than half the global economy but there is still more to be done," Harper said. And while the number of countries Canada has trade deals with has swelled to 42 from five in 2006, "there is still more to be done."

Canada and the European Union agreed in October on a multibillion-dollar trade pact.

During Harper's visit to the Holy Land this week, Canada and Israel agreed to expand and modernise a free trade pact between the two countries. Canada is now in free trade talks with South Korea.

"The most serious risks have been addressed," he said. "We are now beginning to see some sustained momentum for broad global growth. But we can't take our eyes off the ball."

The United States' economic recovery appears to be gaining traction while Europe, while not out of the woods, seems to be coming out of its trough, Harper said.

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