update deskMiddle East

Israel, UAE pave way for free-trade pact to take effect

In 2022, bilateral trade surpassed $2.5 billion (not including software and services).

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (right) and UAE Ambassador Mohamed Al Khaja sign a customs deal in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, March 26, 2023. Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (right) and UAE Ambassador Mohamed Al Khaja sign a customs deal in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, March 26, 2023. Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja signed a customs deal on Sunday that paves the way for the countries’ free-trade agreement to enter into force.

“The taking effect of the free-trade agreement is important news for the Israeli economy, for the strengthening of ties with the UAE and is further testament to the importance of the Abraham Accords,” said Cohen in reference to the Trump administration-brokered agreements that normalized Jerusalem’s relations with four Arab nations.

The May 2022 free-trade agreement was the fastest-ever negotiated in Israel’s history, signed in Dubai some 18 months after the countries established diplomatic relations. The agreement removes tariffs on 96% of goods traded, ranging from food to jewelry to medical equipment. Other benefits include protection of intellectual property and, new to free-trade agreements, a promise to find ways for small and medium-sized businesses to profit from “commercial opportunities granted by the agreement.”

Last year, bilateral trade reached more than $2.5 billion (not including software and services), making the UAE Israel’s 16th largest trading partner.

“This historic agreement that has been signed with the UAE continues to bear fruit for the benefit of the people of both countries,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who attended Sunday’s signing ceremony.

“I am certain that we will be able to expand the circle of peace between Israel and additional countries in our region,” he added.

Netanyahu said last month that he was actively courting Saudi Arabia to join in the Abraham Accords, as that would constitute a “quantum leap” towards regional peace.

Israel is also currently working to expand the accords to four additional nations—Mauritania, Somalia, Niger and Indonesia.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates