Israel and UAE Set To Sign A Free Trade Deal

According to the Israeli government, a free trade agreement between Israel and the UAE is expected to be signed on May 31.

The Ministry of Economy and Industry released statements stating that the agreement would be comprehensive, significant and innovative and would result in 96% of trade between both countries being exempted from tax immediately or gradually. It stated that it would include trade in food, other agricultural goods, and medicines, as well as medical equipment.

Orna Barbivay, Israel’s economic and industry minister, is expected to sign the agreement while she travels to the UAE. According to the Israeli government, Barbivay described it as “free, full and first trade agreement” with an Arab country. Israel also has a preferential trade arrangement with Jordan and a customs Union with the Palestinian Authority.

Since the 2020 signing of the Abraham Accords, relations between the two countries has grown rapidly in recent years. Both high-ranking government officials and business groups have traveled in both directions. The most recent example was an Abu Dhabi delegation of healthcare professionals who visited the BiomedIsrael Conference in Tel Aviv.

According to Israeli officials, bilateral trade between Israel and the UAE was valued at $675m in the first ten month after signing the Abraham Accords in Sept 2020. However, a free trade agreement could see this increase quickly.

It was a very quick process to reach an agreement. The two governments released a joint declaration in June 2021 stating that they had begun talks to create a free trade agreement.

Thani Al-Zeyoudi, the UAE minister of state for international trade, stated that talks had been concluded on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and were now ready to sign. He stated that the landmark deal would build on the historic Abraham Accords, and cement one the most promising and important emerging trading relations in the world.

The UAE government suggested that the agreement be signed “in coming weeks”. It is unclear what caused this delay.

When the agreement is signed, full details will be made public.

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