Bahrain and Israel start free trade agreement talks
Agencies | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Bahrain and Israel have begun negotiating a free trade agreement, Israel's Economy Ministry said yesterday. While economic ties with the UAE has since taken off, Israel's trade with Bahrain has lagged far behind.
In May, Israel forged a free trade deal with the UAE, its first with an Arab country, that officials estimate will increase trade from $1.2 billion to $10 billion in a 5-year time period. Israel-Bahrain trade in 2021 totalled just $7.5 million.
Economy Minister Orna Barbivai met her Bahraini counterpart Zayed R. Alzayani in Manama on Monday to kick off the negotiations, her office said. Israel’s ambassador to Bahrain, Eitan Na'eh, was present. "A free trade agreement with Bahrain as part of strengthening broader regional cooperation will strengthen economic relations between the countries, increase the scope of investments, remove trade barriers and create opportunities for entrepreneurs and companies in Israel and Bahrain," Barbivai said.
Alzayani affirmed Bahrain’s commitment to supporting economic sectors, noting the important role played by the private sector in driving economic development and growth. Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry, Orna Barbivai, expressed Israel’s aspirations for further cooperation with the Kingdom of Bahrain, especially in the economic and industrial fields, highlighting visions for this positive cooperation to reach wider horizons.