Israel and UAE begin talks on free trade agreement

Talks about creating a free trade agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates began Monday night.

Israel’s Minister of Economy and Industry, Orna Barbivai, met with her Emirati colleague, Abdulla bin Touq Al Mari, to start talks for an agreement that would significantly strengthen trade between the two countries.

Since the Abraham Accords were signed in September 2020, normalizing relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, trade between the two countries has increased dramatically. While in 2020, trade between the two countries was around $ 125 million, in the first seven months of 2021 alone that figure reached nearly $ 500 million. The Foreign Trade Administration anticipates that these figures may continue to grow at an accelerated rate and reach much higher levels.

Some have estimated that trade will exceed $ 1 billion this year and reach $ 3 billion. within three years. That doesn’t include foreign direct investment between the two countries, which will likely run into the tens of billions of dollars.

“This meeting opens the door to the many meetings on the way and that there is no doubt that this agreement will help significantly strengthen trade between countries, remove barriers and expand economic cooperation,” Barbivai said. “I hope that we will be able to realize the enormous potential inherent in the friendship between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.”

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Amir Hayek presents his credentials to the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, November 15, 2021 (Credit: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN MINISTRY)

“We intend to conclude a meaningful and comprehensive agreement with our fellow colleagues, which will include, among other things, issues related to trade in goods, including regulation and regulation, customs, trade in services, government procurement, the e-commerce and the preservation of intellectual property rights, “said Ohad Cohen, director of the Foreign Trade Administration, who is leading the negotiations for the deal.

Economic relations between Israel and the UAE have been incredibly warm and fruitful since then-US President Donald Trump first announced the normalization agreement on August 13. The two countries have signed a series of collaboration agreements in different fields, and Israel announced in the summer that it would open an economic attaché office in Abu Dhabi to boost economic relations with the Gulf states and the wider Arab world.

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