Israel signs free trade deal with UAE, the first with an Arab country

UAE agrees to normalize relations with Israel

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ARIEL SCHALIT / Associated Press

Israelis wave national flags in front of Damascus Gate outside Jerusalem’s Old City.

Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed a free trade agreement on Tuesday, the first of its kind that Israel has concluded with an Arab country.

The UAE agreed to normalize relations with Israel in a U.S.-brokered deal in 2020, the first of the so-called Abraham Accords that Israel eventually concluded with four Arab nations — the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan. Since then, the two countries have boosted cooperation in a number of economic sectors.

“Israel & the UAE just signed a historic Free Trade Agreement – the first of this scope to be signed between Israel & an Arab state,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted. “This was the fastest FTA to be signed in Israel’s history.”

Mohamed Al Khaja, the UAE ambassador to Israel, called the deal “an unprecedented achievement.”

“Businesses in both countries will benefit from faster access to markets and lower tariffs as our nations work together to increase trade, create jobs, promote new skills and deepen cooperation,” Al Khaja tweeted.

Dorian Barak, president of the UAE-Israel Business Council, predicted that bilateral trade would exceed $2 billion this year, rising to $5 billion in the next five years.

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