Israel and the United Arab Emirates, which normalised relations a year ago, are looking to Dubai’s Expo world fair in October to boost bilateral trade, which now stands at around USD712 million. The UAE and Bahrain both signed deals to establish ties with Israel last September, followed by Sudan and Morocco.
While small compared to UAE’s USD24 billion annual exports to Saudi Arabia, its largest market, the Israeli government sees trade with the UAE rising to USD1 billion by year-end and is aiming for USD3 billion in three years, it said on its Arabic-language Twitter account.
The bulk of trade between the UAE and Israel, which have similar GDPs of around USD400 billion, has involved imports from the Gulf’s dominant logistics and re-export hub, including plastics, electronics, auto parts and gems.
Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics recorded USD457 million of imports from the UAE between January 2020 and June this year, and $255 million in exports to the UAE. Israel has traditionally exported to Arab countries via other states, or through complex structures outside the region.
Eitan Na’eh, the outgoing head of mission at the Israeli embassy in the UAE, said several new agreements were due to be signed in coming months, with a series of ministers visiting Dubai Expo 2020.
To date, 10 agreements have been signed between the two countries including double taxation, visas, financial services and money laundering agreements. Publicly announced deals include around 40 memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and around 30 other types of strategic, cooperation or distribution agreements related to the financial, energy, sports, agriculture, aviation, aerospace and media sectors, as well as investment promotion and COVID-19 technology.