UAE and Israel sign customs agreement to activate CEPA - GulfToday

UAE and Israel sign customs agreement to activate CEPA


Benjamin Netanyahu witnesses the signing of the agreement at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem.

Mohamed Al Khaja, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the State of Israel, and Eli Cohen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, signed a customs agreement between the two countries in the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem.

The signing of the customs agreement will allow the UAE-Israel Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), signed in May 2022, to enter into force.

Commenting on the occasion, Mohamed Al Khaja remarked, “The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between the UAE and Israel will serve as a major engine to strengthen economic and commercial ties between the UAE and Israel. We expect the agreement to produce significant mutual economic benefits.” The customs agreement aims to enable mutual assistance in ensuring the proper application of customs laws, accurately assessing customs and other tax fees on exports and imports, adjusting customs data, and preventing and investigating customs violations.

In 2022, the non-oil bilateral trade volume between the UAE and Israel reached over $2.5 billion. With the CEPA entering into force, the UAE and Israel expect the trade volume between them to increase significantly.

In May 2022, the United Arab Emirates and Israel signed the UAE-Israel Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (UAE-Israel CEPA) in Dubai, beginning a new era of cooperation between the two nations that established diplomatic ties in September 2020.

The UAE-Israel CEPA, the second bilateral trade agreement signed by the UAE, offers unprecedented economic benefits for both parties by lowering or eliminating tariffs on more than 96 per cent of tariff lines and 99 per cent value of trade, enhancing market access for exporters, attracting new investment, and creating opportunities in key industries, including energy, environment, and digital trade. The deal will also support service sectors such as hospitality, financial services, distribution, and construction and provide a platform for SMEs in both countries to expand internationally.

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

Israel-UAE bilateral trade has witnessed a 117 per cent increase during the first half of 2022 compared to the same period last year, a top Israeli diplomat said in September last year, 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 $560 million [Dhs2.06 billion] during the first six months of 2021 upsurged to $1.214 billion [Dhs4.46 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.

The bilateral trade during the first seven months of 2022 to the tune of $1.407 billion has already surpassed $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 $2.5 billion, while it reached $1.06 billion in the first three months of 2022 – five times the total from the same period in 2021.

“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.”


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