The International Trade Council is pleased to announce the conclusion of negotiations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates for a free trade agreement. The deal, which was reached after four rounds of negotiations, including a meeting in Egypt last month between Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and the UAE’s de facto leader, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is being hailed as a "milestone" agreement that will strengthen economic cooperation between the two nations.
The free trade agreement includes 95% of traded products, which will be customs-free, immediately or gradually, including food, agriculture, cosmetic products, medical equipment, and medicine. It also covers regulation, customs, services, government procurement, and electronic trade. The agreement is expected to come into effect after being signed by the countries' economy ministers and ratified, although no timetable has been given.
Commenting on the deal, Bennett said, "The good relations forged between our two countries are strengthened today by this free trade agreement, which will significantly improve economic cooperation for the benefit of the citizens of both countries." UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani Al Zeyoudi said, "This milestone deal will build on the historic Abraham Accords and cement one of the world’s most important and promising emerging trading relationships."
The agreement will substantially reduce or remove tariffs on a wide range of goods, enhance market access for services, and promote investment flows. It will also create mechanisms for small-and-medium enterprises’ expansion. The UAE and Israel have between $600m and $700m in bilateral trade, with both countries having established formal relations in 2020 as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords that also included Bahrain and Morocco.
The International Trade Council welcomes this significant development as a positive step towards promoting international trade and cooperation.