DUBAI: Israel signed a free trade agreement with the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, the first with an Arab country, building on its US-brokered normalization of relations in 2020.
Israel’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Amir Hayek, tweeted “mabruk,” or congratulations in Arabic, along with a photo of Emirati and Israeli officials holding documents at a signing ceremony in Dubai.
Israel has described as “historic” the agreement that abolishes customs duties on “96% of the products” exchanged between the two parties.
The 2020 normalization agreement reached between the two countries was one of a series of agreements brokered by the United States known as the Abraham Accords.
Two-way trade last year amounted to about $900 million, according to Israeli figures.
The United Arab Emirates was the first Gulf country to normalize ties with Israel and only the third Arab nation to do so after Egypt and Jordan.
Talks for a free trade agreement began in November and were concluded after four rounds of negotiations.
The latest was held in March in Egypt between Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the long-time de facto ruler of the UAE who became president this month after the death of of his sick half-brother, Sheikh Khalifa.
Israel in March hosted a summit of top diplomats from the United States and three Arab states, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, with which it has normalized ties since 2020.
Sudan has also agreed to normalize ties with Israel, although an agreement has yet to be finalized.
Israel has already signed free trade agreements with other countries and blocs, including the United States, the European Union, Canada and Mexico.
In February, Israel signed a trade agreement with Rabat to designate special industrial zones in Morocco.