Israel, UAE sign free trade deal

By Orowo Victoria Ojieh

A free trade agreement has been initialed by Israel and United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is the Hebrew nation’s first big trade accord with an Arab state and a move aimed at boosting trade between the two countries.

The pact was signed in Dubai by Israel’s Minister of Economy and Industry Orna Barbivai and her counterpart, UAE Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq alMarri, on Tuesday after months of negotiations.

This is Israel’s first free trade agreement of this kind with an Arab state and comes two years after UAE and Israel signed a normalization agreement in 2020. “Israel & the UAE just signed a historic Free Trade Agreement – the first of this scope to be signed between Israel & an Arab state,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted.

“This was the fastest FTA to be signed in Israel’s history.” Mohamed Al Khaja, the UAE ambassador to Israel, called it “an unprecedented achievement.”

“Businesses in both countries will benefit from faster access to markets and lower tariffs as our nations work together to increase trade, create jobs, promote new skills and deepen cooperation,” he tweeted.

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President of UAEIsrael Business Council Dorian Barak, predicted that trade would soon multiply between the regional powerhouse economies. “UAE-Israel trade will exceed $2 billion in 2022, rising to around $5 billion in five years, bolstered by collaboration in renewables, consumer goods, tourism and the life sciences sectors,” he said in a statement.

“Dubai is fast becoming a hub for Israeli companies that look to South Asia, the Middle East and the Far East as markets for their goods and services.”

Nearly 1,000 Israeli companies will be working in and through the UAE by the end of the year, Barak added. The UAE was the first Gulf country to normalise ties with Israel and the third Arab nation to do so after Egypt and Jordan.

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