The United Arab Emirates and Israel held a financial discussion aimed to boost cooperation and improve the level of innovation in the financial services sector between the two friendly countries.
The talk, held virtually, was conducted between the Ministry of Finance of the United Arab Emirates and the Ministry of Finance of Israel. This is the first such discussion to be held between UAE and Israel since normalizing the relationship back in 2020.
The dialogue session covered a number of issues
The UAE delegation was headed by Younis Haji Al Khoori, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance. He commended the remarkable progress that has been achieved by the ministries of both countries since the signing of the Abraham Accords Peace Agreement, which was exhibited in the MoU and agreements such as the Double Taxation Agreements of May 2021 and the Bilateral Investment Treaty of October 2020.
In the opening speech given by Al Khoori, he welcomed all the participants during the discussion and stressed that such a platform is important to strengthen the relationship between both countries. He also mentioned that such a dialogue discussion offers an excellent opportunity to exchange experience and knowledge in the fields of regulations, business priorities, and policies, as well as helps to explore new ways to begin bilateral cooperation.
Al Khoori added, “The United Arab Emirates is continuously seeking new ways to promote sustainable financial techniques that are in line with the agenda of global development, which itself is a major strategic objective of the UAE, as the nation seeks to combine efforts globally within this area as part of the preparations in place for hosting the COP28 event in the UAE this year in 2023”.
During 2022, the bilateral trade between the United Arab Emirates and Israel had already covered $2.357 billion in worth within the first eleven months, and that’s without taking the business done in software.
This reflects a 115.1 percent increase in trade between both countries compared to the same period in 2021. Such a massive jump in trade value is considered a result of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that was signed between the two countries.
Within the next 5 years, the bilateral trade between the UAE and Israel is expected to cross the $10 billion mark, adding over $1.9 billion to the UAE’s GDP by the year 2030.
As part of the CEPA agreement, UAE and Israel agreed to offer unparalleled benefits for trade between the two countries, including tariff-cut by over 96 percent on tariff lines and 99 percent on trade value for goods such as food, jewelry, diamonds, fertilizers, medicine, certain chemicals, etc., thus allowing businesses to access the markets of the other nation better, creating opportunities and advancements in the fields of hospitality, digital trade, financial services, construction, energy, distribution, and environment.
Further adding to his speech, Al Khoori said “The topics that were in the discussion today from both parties give great importance to both the countries, considering the position of the UAE and Israel as investment hubs of the respective regions and also considering the similar objective of both the nations to encourage innovations. The financial dialogue between the UAE and Israel helps the finance ministries and central banks to work together, thus helping to positively impact the financial systems and regional cooperation between the two nations.”
Al Khoori ended his speech by stating that the United Arab Emirates will focus on continuing its role as a leader in the region in the fields of economic reforms, political stability, peacemaking, and international trade to accomplish better economic opportunities for the generations to come.
The dialogue discussion addressed several issues that correspond to the macroeconomic policies and trends, potentials, and opportunities for global and regional bilateral cooperation between the UAE and Israel such as in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the World Bank, as well as cooperation in the cyber-financial space.
On the Israeli side, the delegation was represented by Ms. Shira Greenberg, Chief Economist, Director of State Revenue, Research, and International Affairs of the Israel Ministry of Finance.
Other senior officials from both countries also attended the event.
The financial dialogue is just one of the series of events between the two countries, ever since the UAE ended its close-to-a-half-century boycott of Israel. Ever since the Abraham Accords Peace Agreement was signed bringing the UAE and Israel close together are friendly nations, several advancements have been made between the two countries such as direct flights between the UAE and Israel, $10 billion investments by UAE in Israel, the opening of the first licensed synagogue in the UAE in the capital city of Abu Dhabi followed by two more across the country, and much more.
The UAE expects to see the fruits of this relationship in the form of better sharing of aspects such as technologies and policies between the two countries, as well as growth in the form of Israeli-owned businesses setting up operations in the UAE and tourism flow into the country.