UAE-Israel relations. What does it mean for trade & investment?

Joe Hepworth | 14 Aug 2020 | Middle East perspective

It’s not often that we come across a blank canvas in our work.  When we gain a new client or contract in both trade and investment, there’s typically been previous activity, established flows or at the very least an earlier plan that we take on to improve & implement.

That’s what makes the news of the UAE & Israel’s historic agreement on 13/08/2020 to establish formal diplomatic relations so exciting: this really is an entirely new corridor for anyone to be working in.  We often talk about ‘greenfield’ in the FDI world, but until last night there wasn’t even soil!

Fortunately, we’re approaching this unexpected development with something of a head start.  We have been active in Israel for a number of years already, primarily working for US state EDOs where domestic politics demands that a ‘Middle East’ presence is balanced with representation and activity in both Israel and the Arab world.

As such, we have a good handle on the active exporters and overseas investors in Israel, just as we know these same actors well in the UAE from our work here over the last 8 years.

Now comes the interesting part in matching interest, opportunities and intent.  Israel’s strong private sector in areas such as cybersecurity, biotechnology and advanced manufacturing will definitely be of interest in the UAE, and these same areas will also be of particular demand for the growing pool of early stage capital and investment activity that is based in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.  Common areas of growth, expertise and, indeed, essential activity like food security, agriculture and water management are also primed for bilateral engagement.

We will be working with our partners in both countries to make sure this political rapprochement is underpinned by a growing and successful trade & investment story.  Coming from a zero base, progress will be clear for everyone to see.


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