Israel normalised diplomatic relations with Bahrain and its Gulf neighbour the UAE two years ago and has since expanded relations with Morocco, in addition to continuing relations with Jordan and Egypt. While economic ties with the UAE have since taken off, Israel's trade with Bahrain has yet to pick up.
“We're optimistic and hopeful that we will close the deal by the end of the year,” Bahrain's Minister of Industry and Commerce Zayed Alzayani said during a visit to a leading Israeli venture capital firm Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP).
Mr Alzayani, who discussed future co-operation with JVP founder Erel Margalit, said another round of free trade talks was expected in mid-November.
Israel's Economy Ministry told Reuters it would send a delegation to Manama for the next round “in order to conclude the negotiations as soon as possible, and hopefully no later than the end of the year.”
In May, Israel forged a free trade deal with the UAE, its first with an Arab country, that officials estimate will increase trade from $1.2 billion to $10 billion over the next five years.