Israel on Wednesday became the 10th country to join the United Arab Emirates-led World Logistics Passport program, in a move that will allow Israeli firms to expand trade to countries in the southern hemisphere.

India, South Africa, Indonesia, Brazil and Columbia are all members of the WLP.

At a virtual ceremony to sign the agreement, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, the chairman of Dubai’s Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation said, “We welcome the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce (FICC) into the World Logistics Passport, as we further strengthen and elevate ties between our two nations. Through the WLP, we aspire to forge closer economic ties and harness our collective experience, to unlock new trade opportunities for Israel with the world, via Dubai, and with Tel Aviv as a major logistics center.”

FICC vice president Amir Shani said, “This partnership will allow Israeli companies to reduce cost and improve their supply chain to and from Israel, using Dubai as a logistical hub for new markets.”

He said that with goods now able to travel through the UAE, traders could expect to save 25 percent on freight costs and 10 percent on transit time.

“The Abraham Accords and Israel’s connection to Dubai enable it to become a regional and global player and open new trade routes, possibilities and business exchanges,” he said.

Shani noted that, “As part of Israel’s participation in the WLP, the country will be part of the program’s Relief Tier, which supports humanitarian organizations and governments in providing relief in crises … With Israel’s entry into the program, both countries will be strengthening their bilateral ties through close cooperation on COVID-19 vaccine distribution and supply chains. Furthermore, Israel will benefit from increased freight through Dubai, while providing humanitarian organizations an efficient, centrally located hub for their logistics in the region.”

He added, “This in return will reduce the cost of living and promote business growth in the most needed time of the COVID-19 crisis.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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