The UAE and Israel, which normalized relations a year ago, are looking to Dubai’s International Expo in October to promote bilateral trade, which is currently worth $712 million.
While the figure is small compared to UAE exports of $24 billion to its key destination Saudi Arabia in 2019, the Israeli government expects trade with the UAE to reach $1 billion by the end of the year. Israel is aiming for $3 billion in three years.
The UAE, which became the first Gulf state to normalize relations with Israel in a historic move in August, promoted the agreement’s economic benefits. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed deals to establish ties with Israel through the United States in September, followed by Sudan and Morocco.
“A lot of the business community in those countries have seen that, no, it’s okay to do business in Israel. We’ve seen much more interest from business people and normalization had expanded Israeli trade within the wider Middle East via the UAE. We’re becoming much more regional.”
Imports from the Gulf’s key logistics and re-export hub, including plastics, electronics, auto parts, and jewelry, have accounted for the majority of trade between the UAE and Israel, which have similar GDPs of roughly $400 billion. Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics reported $457 million in UAE imports and $255 million in UAE exports between January 2020 and June this year.
Dubai, which has the region’s largest transshipment port at Jebel Ali, reported in January that bilateral trade between these countries has reached $272 million since September 2020.
The UAE and Israel have been discussing a Free Trade Agreement with Israel announcing its plans to open an economic embassy office in Abu Dhabi. To date, the two countries have signed ten government-to-government agreements, including agreements on double taxation, visas, financial services, and money laundering.