image Photo: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

Israel, UAE sign FTA

The Free Trade Agreement will reduce or eliminate tariffs on about 96% of goods traded between the nations, Israel’s Foreign Ministry (MFA) said.

By Erin Viner

The deal will also allow Israeli companies to gain access to government tenders in the UAE, said the MFA, adding that it now “anticipates that the scope of bilateral trade will increase considerably, which will lead to additional jobs in the Israeli market and will also lower the cost-of-living in Israel.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Mahmoud Fateh Ali Al Khaja, signed the FTA in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel and the UAE formally established relations in 2020 as part of the United States-brokered Abraham Accords that also included BahrainMorocco and Sudan.

The historic agreement will benefit of the people of both countries by lowering customs duties, the cost-of-living and inject energy into business between Israel and the UAE, said Prime Minister Netanyahu, who further expressed confidence “we will be able to expand the circle of peace between Israel and additional countries in our region.”

Foreign Minister Cohen said that 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.”

The MFA underscored that the FTA “will be a main growth engine for strengthening economic and commercial cooperation between the two countries and will further strengthen bilateral ties.”

Last year, bilateral trade reached over $2.5 billion (not including software and services) – making the UAE the 16th largest trading partner of the Jewish State.

The countries completed negotiations for the FTA in May 2022.

“This milestone deal will build on the historic Abraham Accords and cement one of the world’s most important and promising emerging trading relationships,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani Al Zeyoudi declared on Twitter at the time.