The United Arab Emirates wants to grow economic ties with Israel to more than $1 trillion over the next decade, Economy Minister Abdulla Bin Touq has said.
Abu Dhabi has signed over 60 memorandums of understanding with Israel since normalising relations last year and is expecting an influx of trade in the next two years, Bin Touq told a conference.
The UAE is looking to invest in sectors including defence, energy and food security.
“We have $600 to $700 million dollars of bilateral trade happening, we have funds of billions of dollars that have been announced jointly between the two countries, we are moving into so many areas of economic opportunities,” he said. “We are looking to create over $1 trillion dollars of economic activity over the next decade.”
Dorian Barak, an Israeli investor, told The Times of Israel that by the end of 2021 Israel and the UAE would have reached $1 billion in trade, including services and tourism.
“About 40 Israeli companies have set up shop in UAE free-trade zones and over 200 companies have local representatives in the country in areas like agriculture, jewellery, food, retail,” Barak said, adding that he thinks that figure will grow to 500.
The bigger story, he said, is that the UAE is a “launching pad” for Israeli businesses and this is where tremendous opportunities lie.” He added that ties with the UAE will be a “catalyst for trade with the wider Arab world” and beyond.
Palestinian factions have called the UAE-Israel peace deal a “stab in the back.”