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Dubai International Chamber to open office in Tel Aviv

New office aims to identify business and investment opportunities in Israel, support local companies entering Dubai market and beyond

Ricky Ben-David is The Times of Israel’s Tech Israel editor and reporter.

Minister of Economy and Industry Orna Barbivai meets with member of the Dubai Chambers, June 2022. (Ministry of Economy and Industry)
Minister of Economy and Industry Orna Barbivai meets with member of the Dubai Chambers, June 2022. (Ministry of Economy and Industry)

The Dubai International Chamber, one of the emirate’s three chambers of commerce, is set to open a representative office in Tel Aviv to facilitate trade and investment between business communities in both Israel and Dubai.

According to an official announcement issued this week, the Tel Aviv office of the Dubai International Chamber will identify business and investment opportunities in Israel and “also support Israeli companies with their entry into the Dubai market and help them leverage the emirate to expand their reach into markets across the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council], Africa and Asia.”

The announcement came after a meeting on Monday at the Chamber’s headquarters between Hamad Buamim, president and CEO of Dubai Chambers, Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Orna Barbivay, Israel’s Ambassador to the UAE Amir Hayek, and other representatives from the Israeli embassy in the United Arab Emirates and Dubai Chambers.

The development comes a week after Israel and the UAE signed a historic free trade deal — the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement — in a bid to boost economic ties between the two countries. The agreement covers regulation, customs, services, government procurement, e-commerce and protection of intellectual property rights.

Israel and the UAE recorded about $1 billion of bilateral trade in the first quarter of 2022. The countries hope that trade values will reach $5 billion by 2023-2024 and $1 trillion over the next decade.

The Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry has said bilateral trade with the UAE in 2021 reached close to $900 million (including diamonds, electrical equipment, electronics, transportation materials, jewelry and minerals).

Buamim said that “by expanding our presence into Israel, we will be well-positioned to achieve the objectives of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement signed by the UAE and Israel, build new bridges between the two business communities and boost non-oil trade to reach $10 billion annually within the next five years.”

He also said that Israel was a market of strategic importance to Dubai and that the country was expected to become one of Dubai’s 10 top trading partners within a few years.

Barbivai said the agreement “reflects the firm commitment the two countries attach to strengthening economic ties and creating new business opportunities.”

Hayek added that the decision to open a Tel Aviv office of the Dubai International Chamber was “a significant step towards promoting cooperation between the two countries and their business communities.”

Dubai could serve as a global gateway for Israeli companies, Buamim said, noting that mutual business could help attract foreign investment in key sectors of mutual interest such as digital economy, information technology, artificial intelligence, smart services, agricultural and food technologies and space sciences.

The Dubai International Chamber has 11 international offices across Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America. The organization recently adopted a new strategy for the next three years that focuses on strengthening Dubai’s position as a global business hub and identifying 30 priority international markets “that offer huge economic potential,” including Israel.

Israel and the UAE signed a normalization agreement in 2020 as part of the US-backed Abraham Accords. Bahrain and Morocco also normalized ties with Israel in the framework of the accords.

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