UAE to be among Israel’s top 10 trading partners in 3 years, with bilateral trade surging 117% in H1 2022: Israeli envoy

UAE to be among Israel’s top 10 trading partners in 3 years, with bilateral trade surging 117% in H1 2022: Israeli envoy

By Binsal Abdulkader

ABU DHABI, 7th September, 2022 (WAM) -- Israel-UAE bilateral trade has witnessed a 117 percent increase during the first half of 2022 compared to the same period last year, a top Israeli diplomat told the Emirates News Agency (WAM), predicting that the UAE will be among Israel’s top ten trading partners in the next two-three years.

Amir Hayek, the Israeli Ambassador to the UAE, also said the UAE can be an important growth engine for Israeli industries because of the innovation infrastructure, and essential ingredients for business the Emirates offers.

The bilateral trade worth US$560 million [AED 2.06 billion] during the first six months of 2021 upsurged to US$1.214 billion [AED 4.46 billion] during the first half of 2022, a 117 percent increase, he revealed in an exclusive interview with WAM at the Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi on the occasion of the second anniversary of the Abraham Accords signed in September 2020 that established diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE.

7 months of 2022 trade surpasses 2021 figure

The bilateral trade during the first seven months of 2022 to the tune of US$1.407 billion has already surpassed US$1.221 billion trade during the whole 2021, the envoy said.

"So, it is a huge number. It puts the UAE in the 19th rank among the countries that Israel is doing business with. By the end of this year, the UAE’s rank will be between 15 or 16 and I believe that in the next 2-3 years we will see the UAE in the top ten countries that Israel is trading with," the diplomat predicted, saying "which is beautiful".

According to the UAE Ministry of Economy, from September 2020 to March 2022, the UAE-Israel non-oil trade surpassed US$2.5 billion, while it reached US$1.06 billion in the first three months of 2022 – five times the total from the same period in 2021.

Five factors make UAE a growth engine for Israeli industries

"I am telling my Israeli friends that the UAE can be an important growth engine for the Israeli economy and industry. We have five reasons for that," Hayek pointed out.

"The first one is the UAE has an innovation infrastructure that can fit our innovation infrastructure, and together, one plus one can be eleven [1+1=11]. Second, they can find here capital of any kind. If they are looking for partners, sometimes they are not looking for partners, but if they are looking for partners, this is the place to find them. If you have a good company, you can find the right partner and right investment here," he explained.

Third, businesses can find here people of any kind, from carpenters to machine engineers and software engineers, the envoy pointed out. "And if you cannot find them here, it is easy to bring them here."

The fourth reason is availably of raw materials. The UAE is a global trade centre that offers materials at a fair price, the ambassador said.

The fifth factor is access to new markets. "These five ingredients combined; you can find them only here. Therefore, I think the UAE will be a growth engine for the Israeli economy, the Israeli industries and for the relations between both countries," Hayek emphasised.

CEPA with UAE – Israel’s fastest negotiation

The ambassador said the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) signed with the UAE on May 31st, 2022, after 6-month long negotiations, which was the "fastest negotiations Israel did" for any similar free trade agreement with other countries. "Because we had great partners in the Emirati side."

The CEPA will come into force in the next few months. "But you know, economy is a matter of expectations. So, when businesspeople see and hear about the CEPA, they would like to cooperate because they see and understand that there is a solid ground of agreements that can back up their efforts in economic cooperation," he pointed out.

According to the UAE Ministry of Economy, the UAE-Israel CEPA is expected to advance bilateral trade beyond US$10 billion within five years and add US$1.9 billion to the UAE’s GDP within the same period. Total UAE exports are expected to increase 0.5 percent by 2030.