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Israel, UAE sign historic free trade deal

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Dubai, May 31: Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed a free trade agreement on Tuesday in Dubai, Israel's ambassador to the UAE said on Twitter.

Israel, UAE sign historic free trade deal

"Done," diplomat Amir Hayek wrote, replying to another tweet he posted earlier saying, "the UAE and Israel will sign FTA in the next hour."

The pact was signed by Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Orna Barbiva and her counterpart, UAE Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, after months of negotiations.

Historic deal

The trade deal is Israel's first with an Arab country. The move is aimed at boosting trade between the two nations.

Israel has described as "historic" the deal abolishing customs duties on "96% of the products" exchanged between the two sides.

Two-way trade last year totalled some $900 million (€837 million), according to Israeli figures.

For oil-rich UAE, the deal with Israel is its second bilateral free trade agreement after signing a similar accord with India in February.

According to Emirati Trade Minister Thani al Zeyoudi, the free trade deal will push the value of non-oil bilateral trade between Israel and the UAE beyond $10 billion (€9.3 billion) within five years.

How enemies became allies

The two countries, once nominal enemies, turned official allies in 2020, when the foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain, as well as Israel's then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, signed a peace agreement that normalized diplomatic ties between their countries.

The Abraham Accords, as the statement became known, was a landmark achievement under then-US President Donald Trump.

Source: DW

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