(MENAFN) The UAE and Israel have signed a custom cooperation deal aimed at activating the pledge they signed in May 2022 to reduce tariffs on 96 percent of goods traded between the countries. The agreement aims to enable mutual assistance in ensuring the proper application of customs laws by accurately assessing customs and other tax fees on exports and imports as well as adjusting customs data. The new customs deal will take effect from April 1 and will permit Israeli companies to compete for government tenders in the UAE.
Mohamed Al Khaja, the UAE's Ambassador to Israel, and Eli Cohen, the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, signed the agreement between the two countries in the presence of the country's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem. "The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between the UAE and Israel will serve as a major engine to strengthen economic and commercial ties between the UAE and Israel. We expect the agreement to produce significant mutual economic benefits," Al Khaja said.
The comprehensive agreement signed in May aimed to align customs between both countries and is expected to increase bilateral trade to more than $10 billion in the next five years. In 2022, the value of bilateral trade between Israel and the UAE grew to more than $2.5 billion – an increase of more than 100 percent on the $1.2 billion in trade between the two countries in 2021, according to Israeli figures.
The agreement includes food, medicine, diamonds, jewelry, fertilizers, and chemicals with most duties to be removed immediately and others to be phased out over three to five years. The trade deal with the UAE was Israel's first with an Arab country, which comes at a time of heightened tensions in the region over the actions of Israel's latest government, which has overseen a dramatic rise in Israeli-Palestinian violence with multiple Israeli incursions into Jenin and Nablus.
The new customs cooperation deal is a significant step towards strengthening economic and commercial ties between the UAE and Israel. The agreement will enable both countries to accurately assess customs and other tax fees on exports and imports, align customs laws, and adjust customs data. The deal will also permit Israeli companies to compete for government tenders in the UAE. It is part of the comprehensive economic partnership agreement signed in May, which aims to increase bilateral trade to more than $10 billion in the next five years.
The trade deal with the UAE was Israel's first with an Arab country, marking a historic milestone in the region. The agreement covers a wide range of goods, including food, medicine, diamonds, jewelry, fertilizers, and chemicals, with most duties to be removed immediately and others to be phased out over three to five years. The growth in bilateral trade between the two countries in 2022 demonstrates the potential for economic cooperation and mutual benefits. The new customs deal is expected to further boost trade and economic ties between the UAE and Israel.
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