Could the UAE become one of Israel's largest trading partners?

Israel and the UAE have a lot to learn from each other.

Collaboration Opportunities: Investment and Tech Partnerships

Bilateral trade between Israel and the United Arab Emirates could realistically reach as high as $6.5 billion in several years, which would make the UAE one of Israel’s largest trading partners, Samir Chaturvedi, CEO of the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), said at the UAE-Israel Peace and Prosperity Roundtable, presented by The Khaleej Times and The Jerusalem Post.

“I think that’s a realistic goal, not overly optimistic,”  Chaturvedi said in a fireside chat on increasing bilateral trade. “Both of our economies are similar, in terms of size, population and innovation.”
David Leffler, director-general of the Economy Ministry, agreed. “Both economies are export-oriented, and there are many reasons to be optimistic,” he said. “For example, the UAE imports about $58b. of precious stones and metals every year, and Israel imports $12b. That can come out of that.”
Therefore, Leffler said, after all the official ceremonies about peace, the next step is for the countries’ business communities to get to know each other.
In a talk on preparing for a decade of economic transformation, Hamad Buamim, chief CEO of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, expressed hope that normalization between the two countries will open up new opportunities in the post-pandemic world.
The year “2020 was a very difficult year, and everyone is looking for new markets to support economic recovery,” he said.
Buamim singled out tourism, healthcare, agriculture, food security and pharmaceutical equipment as areas ripe for new channels of cooperation.
A joint project with Israel’s Chamber of Commerce to map out other opportunities for collaboration will also help educate both sides and facilitate future cooperation, he noted.
In a panel on collaboration opportunities, Khalid al-Marzooqi, commercial director of KIZAD, noted that business “free zones” in Abu Dhabi offer a deregulated environment that helps create environments that are conducive for the ease of doing business.
Dr. Ibtesam al-Bastaki, director of the Public-Private Partnership Department of the Dubai Health Authority, noted that Dubai’s government encourages public-private partnerships on many projects that allow it to split the risks with investors and provide potentially lucrative returns for dedicated investors.
Nir Hollander, country manager of Israel, Cyprus and Greece for cloud computing company Nutanix, noted that Israel and the UAE have a lot to learn from each other.
“Israel, the Start-up Nation, is said to have the most start-ups in the world outside of Silicon Valley, and Emirati society is known to be very innovative. The challenge will be to build infrastructures that will support future collaboration and trust for a long time.”