Israel, Bahrain begin free trade agreement talks

Israel and Bahrain have begun negotiating a free trade agreement, Israel’s Economy Ministry said on Tuesday.

Israel normalised diplomatic relations with Bahrain and its Gulf neighbour the United Arab Emirates (UAE) two years ago under U.S. sponsorship in the Abraham Accords. Israel and Bahrain have already inked a number of deals – including one related defence – since officially establishing ties. Since then, economic ties with the UAE has taken off, while Israel’s trade with Bahrain have 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. In comparison, Israel-Bahrain trade in 2021 totalled just $7.5 million.

Israeli Economy Minister Orna Barbivai met with her Bahraini counterpart Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa in Manama to start talks aimed at removing trade barriers between the two countries, the “Israel in the Gulf” Twitter account said.

Image Credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias/File Photo/File Photo