UAE, Israel sign deal to lower customs duties on 96% of products

Customs Cooperation Agreement follows CEPA deal to advance bilateral trade beyond $10 billion, signed in May last year


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Mon 27 Mar 2023, 12:56 PM

Last updated: Mon 27 Mar 2023, 4:24 PM

The UAE and Israel on Sunday signed Customs Cooperation Agreement, reducing customs duties on 96 per cent of products, resulting in a substantial increase in bilateral trade between the two countries.

The Customs Agreement follows the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) signed between the two countries in May 2022.

This was announced by Mohamed Al Khaja, ambassador of the UAE to Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, and Eli Cohen, Israel’s foreign minister late on Sunday.

The two countries had signed to advance bilateral trade beyond $10 billion (Dh36.7 billion) in five years. The agreement was built on the exponential growth in trade and investment that the two countries enjoyed following the signing of the Abraham Accords.

Bilateral trade between the UAE and Israel more than doubled last year with the Emirates becoming among the top 20 trading partners of Israel. Trade jumped 109.7 per cent to $2.56 billion (Dh9.4 billion) in 2022 as compared to $1.22 billion in the previous year, excluding software trade. The UAE is now the 16th largest trading partner of Israel out of 126 countries.

The UAE aims to sign CEPA with 26 countries over the next few years to double the size of the economy to Dh3 trillion by 2030.

“In the presence of Prime Minister Netanyahu, I signed today with Foreign Minister Eli Cohen a Customs Cooperation Agreement, putting into force the CEPA (free trade) between Israel and the UAE. We expect this to boost trade, improve the standard of living and lower the cost of goods,” Al Khaja said in a tweet late on Sunday.

The Israeli prime minister said the customs agreement will lower the tariffs on about 96 per cent of the products, hence, lowering the cost of living and creating new jobs in Israel.

“The historic peace agreement we signed with the UAE continues to bear fruit for the benefit of the citizens of both countries. The customs agreement will lead to the implementation of the free trade agreement between Israel and the UAE, which will lower tariffs, the cost of living and give a boost to business between Israel and the UAE,” Netanyahu said.

Israel’s foreign minister Cohen said the new agreement constitutes good news for the Israeli economy and further evidence of the importance of the Abraham Accords.


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