|Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Foreign Media Adviser)
Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have completed negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement.
The issue was discussed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed at their meeting in Abu Dhabi last December, at which it was agreed to accelerate the contacts ahead of the signing, and at their meeting in Egypt last week, at which the leaders agreed to complete the agreement within days.
This is a comprehensive and significant agreement that includes – inter alia – issues regarding trade in goods such as regulation and standards, customs, trade in services, cooperation, government procurement, electronic trade and maintaining trademarks.
95% of the goods traded between the two countries are included in the agreement and will be exempt from customs either immediately or gradually: Food products, agriculture, cosmetics, medical equipment, drugs and more. The agreement is expected to take effect following the signing by Economy and Industry Minister Orna Barbivay and her Emirati counterpart and the ratification process in the two countries.
Prime Minister Bennett:
“This is an important moment in relations between the State of Israel and the UAE. Today the good relations that have already been forged between the two countries are being strengthened in the form of a free trade agreement that will significantly upgrade economic cooperation for the benefit of the citizens of both countries. There will be more trade, more jobs and good products at lower prices. At my last meeting with the Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, in Sharm El-Sheikh, we agreed to accelerate the process and bring it to conclusion within days, and so it was.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid welcomed the agreement, which is conducive with the spirit of the Negev Summit, that called for continuous cooperation, continuity in contacts and has led to tangible achievements that will improve the lives of the citizens of the State of Israel and of the peoples of the region.
Economy and Industry Minister Maj.-Gen. (ret) Barbivay:
“Since the establishment of the Abraham Accords, the Economy and Industry Ministry has been working to expand economic relations between Israel and the UAE and to fully utilize their economic potential. The conclusion of the negotiations is a significant and historic milestone in bilateral relations. We will continue to assist the Israeli business community to establish commercial ties in the UAE via the free trade agreement, the ministry’s economic attaches and additional assistance tools that the ministry will put at their disposal.”