JERUSALEM, Oct 31 – Israel and Bahrain step to sign a free trade agreement(FTA) by the end of this year, officials acquainted with the matter from both countries said on Monday.
Israel recently normalized diplomatic relations with Bahrain and its Gulf neighbor the UAE two years ago under US’s assistance. While economic ties with the UAE have since taken a flight, Israel’s trade with Bahrain has been apparently lagging far behind.
“We are optimistic and hope to close the deal by the end of the year,” said the Zayed Alzayani, Bahraini Minister of Industry and Trade during a visit to leading Israeli venture capital firm Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP).
Alzayani, who discussed future cooperation with JVP founder Erel Margalit, mentioned that next round of free trade agreement talks between Israel and Bahrain is expected in mid-November 2022.
Israel’s economy ministry stated it would send a delegation to Manama for the next round of negotiations “so that negotiations can be concluded as soon as possible, and hopefully by the end of the year at the latest.”
In May 2022, Israel signed a free trade agreement with the United Arab Emirates, it was the such agreement first with an Arab country that officials estimate will boost the trade from $1.2 billion to $10 billion over the next five years.