Israel and the United Arab Emirates have signed a free trade agreement. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced the signing of the “historic” agreement on Twitter on Tuesday. It is the most comprehensive free trade agreement with an Arab country. Israel’s Ambassador to the Emirates, Amir Hayek, tweeted a photo of the signing in Dubai and captioned it “Mabruk” – “congratulations” in Arabic.
In 2020, Israel and the Emirates signed a historic agreement to normalize their relations, mediated by the United States. The Emirates were the third Arab country after Egypt and Jordan to recognize Israel as a state. Also in 2020, Bahrain and Morocco normalized their relations with Israel, while negotiations with Sudan are still ongoing.
Israel and the Emirates began talks on a free trade agreement in November, which were finalized after four rounds of negotiations. Bennett and Sheikh Mohammed bin Sajed al-Nahjan, who has been the official President of the Emirates since the death of his half-brother in mid-May, took part in the last round of negotiations in Egypt in March.
Among other things, the free trade agreement provides for exempting 96 percent of the goods traded between the two countries from customs duties. According to Israeli information, trade in both directions last year amounted to the equivalent of around 814 million euros.