JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel and the United Arab Emirates agreed on Tuesday to set up a joint committee to cooperate on financial services, aiming to promote investment between the two countries, an Israeli statement said.
An Israeli delegation is in Abu Dhabi on a historic trip to finalise a pact marking open relations between Israel and the Gulf state.
Representatives from both countries signed the understanding, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in the statement.
One focus, Netanyahu said, would be on “cooperation in the field of financial services and removing financial barriers for making investments between the countries, as well as promoting joint investments in the capital markets”.
The countries will also collaborate in banking services and payment regulations, he said.
Separately, the state-run Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) and Invest in Israel, part of the economy ministry, agreed to set out a plan to establish formal cooperation between then, they said in a joint statement.
“The organisations will explore mutually beneficial areas of collaboration to unlock investment and partnership opportunities for companies in Israel and Abu Dhabi with a strong focus on innovation and technology,” they said.
An initial virtual meeting was held between Ziva Eger, Invest in Israel chief executive, and Monira Hisham al-Kuttab who leads ADIO’s international promotional activity. Further meetings are scheduled throughout September.
“Israel’s ecosystem has a lot to offer to the UAE’s economy in terms of innovation, specifically in the Life Sciences, CleanTech, Agtech and Energy sectors,” Eger said in the statement.
ADIO Director General Tariq Bin Hendi said ADIO’s investor care team would “facilitate connections throughout Abu Dhabi’s ecosystem” and explore opportunities over the coming months.
Israeli officials have been quick to play up the economic benefits of the accord, which once formalised would also include agreements on tourism, technology, energy, healthcare and security, among other areas.
A number of Israeli and Emirati businesses have already signed deals since the normalisation deal was announced.
(Writing by Jeffrey Heller and Yousef Saba; editing by Ari Rabinovitch, Larry King, William Maclean)