UAE and Israel non-oil trade hits $700m in one year since normalisation of ties

The two countries have signed 60 major agreements, UAE economy minister says

The UAE's Minister of Economy Abdullah bin Touq takes part in an online discussion hosted by the American Atlantic Council. Wam
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The non-oil trade between the UAE and Israel has reached $700 million in one year after the two countries normalised relations following the signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020, according to the Minister of Economy Abdullah bin Touq.

The two countries also signed 60 major agreements at the government and private sector levels, covering industries such as science and technology, artificial intelligence, tourism, logistics, transportation, healthcare and energy, among others, to strengthen ties, Mr bin Touq said during an online dialogue session hosted by the Washington-based think tank American Atlantic Council.

"The efforts of the two countries in this regard are continuing and the next stage will witness more agreements and memoranda of understanding to further expand the scope of economic, trade and investment co-operation between the two countries and to achieve new levels of progress in the growing relations between them," state news agency Wam reported, quoting Mr bin Touq.

The UAE and Israel normalised relations after signing the Abraham Accords in September last year. The two countries have since agreed a series of deals to foster co-operation in sectors ranging from aviation to finance and defence.

Mr bin Touq pointed out the increase in tourism exchange and the flow of investments between the two countries would enhance “growth and opportunities on a broader regional scale by pushing for greater economic integration among the countries of the region”.

Expo 2020 Dubai, which will begin next month, will help in attracting a larger number of businessmen and companies from Israel to the UAE to showcase their products, services and innovations, he said.

"It will also serve as a platform to better inform them of various business and investment opportunities at the regional and global level through direct communication with global companies and delegations at Expo 2020 Dubai.”

The event will also help in attracting more Israeli tourists to the UAE and increase the rates of tourism and cultural exchange between the two countries, Mr bin Touq added.

The UAE is seeking Dh550 billion ($150bn) in inward foreign investment over the next nine years and it aims to be among the 10 biggest global investment destinations by 2030, Mr bin Touq said last week in an interview with Bloomberg television. The country’s economy is expected to grow more than 4 per cent this year, he said earlier this month.

A number of UAE entities have signed agreements with their counterparts in Israel in the past 12 months, including a deal between Etihad Airways' engineering unit with Israel Aerospace Industries, or IAI, to set up a site in Abu Dhabi that will convert Boeing 777-300ER passenger planes into freighters as air cargo demand strengthens worldwide.

UAE defence conglomerate Edge is also partnering with Israel Aerospace Industries to develop an advanced Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System (C-UAS) that can detect and intercept a broad range of threats.

The bilateral trade between the UAE and Israel is expected to reach $4bn a year, Wam reported.

Dubai Diamond Exchange and the Israel Diamond Exchange also signed an agreement last year to develop closer working ties. The UAE’s financial free zones have also forged partnerships with their counterparts and banks in Israel to further boost collaboration within the FinTech sector.

Updated: September 15, 2021, 10:48 AM