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Israel signs free trade deal with UAE in first of its kind with Arab state

DUBAI – Israel has signed a free trade agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), its first mega deal with an Arab state that aimed at bolstering economic ties between the Middles Eastern countries.

Abdulla Bin Touq, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates, and Major General (Retd) Orna Barbivay, Minister of Economy and Industry for the State of Israel, signed the UAE-Israel Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (UAE-Israel CEPA) in Dubai, a major development happened such a short time after the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2020 under the Abraham Accords.

The UAE-Israel CEPA offers unprecedented economic benefits for both parties by lowering or eliminating tariffs on more than 96 percent of tariff lines and 99 percent value of trade, enhancing market access for exporters, attracting new investment, and creating opportunities in key industries, including energy, environment, and digital trade, the state-run WAM news agency said.

Service sectors such as hospitality, financial services, distribution, and construction would also get benefit from the deal, which will also provide platforms for SMEs.

Both sides hoped that the deal would take the bilateral trade beyond $10 billion within five years.

Commenting on the occasion, Abdulla Bin Touq said: “Under the directives of our leadership, the UAE continues to take bold steps to advance our economy and enhance our status as a regional hub for trade, investment, and the industries of the future. This CEPA with Israel will create a new paradigm for the region. It will accelerate growth and underscores a shared belief that the only way to build resilient and sustainable economies in a complex world is by doing so together.

“It also symbolises something greater than business: the importance of building meaningful partnerships. Our agreement can demonstrate to nations and governments around the world that cooperation and dialogue are the best ways to transform challenges into opportunities.”

Meanwhile, Israeli official said that this is the first full free trade agreement made with an Arab state by Israel, adding: “…that is happening such a short time after the establishment of diplomatic relations”.

Earlier, the UAE signed a mega economic partnership agreement with India and it come into force on May 1.

Courtesy: Daily Pakistan

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