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Israel, Moldova kick off talks for free trade pact

"We will soon have great news for both our nations," said Chisinau's Ambassador Alexandr Roitman.

Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Nir Barkat (left) and Moldova's Ambassador Alexandr Roitman in Jerusalem, July 31, 2023. Credit: TPS.
Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Nir Barkat (left) and Moldova's Ambassador Alexandr Roitman in Jerusalem, July 31, 2023. Credit: TPS.

Israeli and Moldovan officials on Monday initiated negotiations in Jerusalem toward a free trade agreement.

Israeli Minister of Economy and Trade Nir Barkat met with Moldova’s Ambassador Alexandr Roitman to launch the trade talks, which typically take several years.

“This will help the balance of trade. It will be easier for goods from all sides to reach each other. It’ll be a better trade regime” and increase trade, the ambassador said. “We’ll convene to discuss particulars. Usually, these things take time, but we hope it [the talks] will be prodigiously fruitful. That will be accomplished in one or two months.”

Barkat and Roitman discussed various aspects of the proposed agreement and agreed to expedite the negotiation process. Both men expressed optimism about the benefits that such an agreement could bring to the economies of both nations.

Moldova, a landlocked neighbor of Ukraine and Romania, primarily exports to Israel base metals, prepared foodstuffs, textiles, footwear and headwear. Israeli exports to Moldova include machinery, textiles, rubber, plastics, chemical products, precious stones and prepared foodstuffs.

During the meeting, both parties expressed commitment to fostering economic cooperation and acknowledged the potential of a free trade agreement to create new opportunities for businesses in both countries.

Barkat said, “This is a significant milestone in our relationship with Moldova. We are confident that a free trade agreement will serve to enhance our mutual economic interests and create new opportunities for growth and collaboration.”

Roitman echoed these sentiments, stating, “Today’s meeting was a positive and productive step forward. I am confident that we will soon have great news for both our nations. We are eager to strengthen our ties with Israel, and we believe that a free trade agreement will be beneficial for both our countries.”

Israeli free trade agreements with the United Arab Emirates and South Korea went into effect in 2023. On Wednesday, Israel signed a free trade agreement with Vietnam. Israel is also closing in on a similar agreement with Bahrain and is in talks to expand its agreement with India.

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