Israel and UAE sign economic and trade agreement

June 30, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the United Arab Emirate (UAE) Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, met in Abu Dhabi yesterday where they signed an economic agreement between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. (MFA)

Lapid is in the UAE for his first official visit abroad and the first visit by an Israeli foreign minister to the Gulf country.

Lapid inaugurated the Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi and will inaugurate the Consulate General of Israel in Dubai on Wednesday.

Sheikh Abdullah and Lapid discussed ways to enhance Emirati-Israeli relations in the light of the Abraham Accords, signed between the two countries in September.

Sheikh Abdullah highlighted the importance of the visit, saying “it will open wider horizons for the development of relations between the two countries in all fields, in a way that will serve their common interests and benefit their peoples,” WAM reported.

Sheikh Abdullah and Lapid signed an agreement for economic and commercial cooperation between the two countries.

The agreement stipulates that the two governments are committed to developing economic relations and free flow of goods and services, as well as trade fairs, expert and knowledge exchanges, delegation exchanges, regulatory cooperation, encouraging private sector collaborations, encouraging R&D, agro-technologies and more.

The two governments must ratify the agreement. The agreement will remain in force for five years and will be automatically be renewed for consecutive periods of five years.

As part of the agreement, a joint economic committee headed by the Ministries of Economy from both countries will be established and will promote the implementation of the agreement and examine ways to increase trade and remove barriers to trade.

Bilateral trade in the medium-term is expected to range between $4 billion and $6.5 billion, equivalent to about 1% to 1.5$% of each country’s GDP.

In the first five months since the historic signing of the Abraham Accords, the two countries have conducted around $280 million in bilateral trade while the UAE attracted around Israeli 130,000 tourists during the period.

Israel has previously signed several other agreements with the UAE.

The UAE and Bahrain signed a historic peace agreement with Israel at the White House on September 15, 2020, the first agreement to be signed between Israel and an Arab country in 25 years.

The UAE was the first major Arab state to recognize Israel since the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty was signed in October 1994.

Announced on August 13, the Abraham Accords is the first between a Gulf state and Israel and is expected to lead to similar agreements with other Arab countries, possibly Oman or Saudi Arabia.

Israel and Sudan announced the normalization of ties in October 2020. Morocco joined the Abraham Accords in December.

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