Israel, UAE Sign Customs Agreement, Enabling Free Trade

By Matis Glenn

Minister of Foreign Affairs Eli Cohen seen during a press conference, at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem, on January 25, 2023. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed a customs agreement Sunday, allowing a free-trade arrangement signed last year to take effect.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Eli Cohen UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja signed on the deal, aimed at boosting the economies of both nations, creating jobs and lowering the cost of living.

Following the agreement, customs duties will be lowered or cancelled on approximately 96% of goods and will allow Israeli companies to gain access to UAE government tenders.

“This historic agreement that has been signed with the UAE continues to bear fruit for the benefit of the people of both countries,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who attended the event said. “The customs agreement that was signed today will lead to the implementation of the free trade agreement between Israel and the UAE, which will reduce customs duties, lower the cost-of-living and inject energy into business between Israel and the UAE. I am certain that we will be able to expand the circle of peace between Israel and additional countries in our region.”

Cohen said that the deal is the latest step in the implementation of the Abraham Accords, brokered by former President Donald Trump in 2020, which the UAE signed with Israel; Bahrain and Morocco joined subsequently.

“The taking effect of the free trade agreement is important news for the Israeli economy,” Cohen said. “for the strengthening of ties with the UAE and is further testament to the importance of the Abraham Accords. We are currently striving to expand the Abraham Accords to additional countries.”

In 2022, bilateral trade reached over $2.5 billion (not including software and services); the UAE has since become Israel’s 16th largest trading partner.

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