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  • Seth Frantzman

Economic cooperation will underpin new UAE-Israel relations

October 23 - Rapidly growing ties between Israel and the UAE are being underpinned by business ties. Although some ties existed before normalization, usually through third countries, now the normalization and flights between the countries will enable the two dynamic economics to join hands.

Reports indicate that these ties moved quickly in October.

The $3 billion investment fund

On October 20 the US, UAE and Israel announced a $3 billion investment fund to be based in Jerusalem. “The fund will enable its members to launch people-focused investments, providing opportunity and hope for the region and its youth by enabling them to build a future that serves them and their communities,” the statement read.

The pipeline

The Europe-Asia Pipeline Co. (formerly the Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Co.) (EAPC) signed "a binding memorandum of understanding in Abu Dhabi with the Med-Red company to operate a land bridge for conveying oil between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea," Globes reported on October 20. "The agreement was signed in the presence of US Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, the UAE Minister of Financial Affairs Obaid bin Humaid al Tayer, Deputy Chairman of National Holding and Petromal Hashem Abed Ahmed, US Envoy to the Middle East Avi Berkovitz and Israeli and UAE businesspeople." Israel is also part of the East Mediterranean gas forum. The East-Med pipeline plan between Israel, Greece and Cyprus has also been finalized between January and July 2020. The 1,900-kilometer (1,200-mile) EastMed pipeline will be built in the coming years.

The Ports

On October 13 the first ship arrived in Haifa from the UAE. Khaleej Times notes that "the ship, MSC Paris, carried iron as well as firefighting, cleaning and electronic equipment to Israel's largest port. The Haifa port said the ship will take cargo from the UAE to Israel on a weekly basis."

UAE Dubai Ports World (DP World) signed an agreement with Israel's DoverTower seeking to buy part of the Haifa Port. DP World in mid-September was reported to be working toward a trade route with Israel. The September moves were multifaceted. Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem and DP World reportedly "signed a collaboration agreement with Israel’s Bank Leumi. The agreement with the bank joins another one the sultan had previously signed with Dover Tower owner Shlomi Fogel, who is also a shareholder in Israel Shipyards, to jointly submit a bid to privatize the Haifa Port." In addition there would be work on a direct shipping line from Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port and Israel’s Port of Eilat. Shipping time is ten days between the two. See more details.

The hi-tech

Globes reported on September 21 "Israeli businessman Shlomi Fogel has set up a fund for Gulf States businesspeople to invest in Israeli high-tech companies. Fogel, one of the owners of Israel Shipyards, said that a delegation from Abu Dhabi, was hosted in Israel over the past week and met with representatives from 50 high-tech companies." This was reportedly a $30 million investment fund "unveiled during a webinar held by theDock innovation hub."

On October 13 OurCrowd, which calls itself Israel’s most active startup investment platform, said it was "partnering with Emirates Angels, the leading Emirati angel investment association, to provide a unique overview of the current trends, players, and opportunities related to the tech landscape in the United Arab Emirates."

Erel Margalit of Jerusalem Venture Partners on October 26 also came to Abu Dhabi at the invitation of the Dubai International Financial Center, Calcalist reported. The "delegation to Abu Dhabi and Dubai included representatives of 12 high-tech and

foodtech companies and the fund's investment team led by Erel Margalit." Abubaker Seddiq Al Khoori, the CEO of the Abu Dhabi Capital Group welcomed the group and investment opportunities.

Banking and diamonds

Ran Hamou, managing partner at France-based firm Everlaw was quoted in Ynet as saying

“Each year, many Israeli startups are sold to foreign investors instead of developing their businesses to become major players...And UAE funds invest in many foreign companies around the world.”

The idea of more UAE-Israel cooperation could affect the Gulf and be an economic bridge between Europe and Asia. This could include: - Banking sectors

- Cybersecurity

- Diamonds. Ynet notes "Last week, the Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE) and Ramat Gan-based Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) signed a range of trade partnerships and agreements aimed at building closer ties. Executive Chairman and CEO of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre and Chairman of the Dubai Diamond Exchange Ahmed Bin Sulayem says the new pacts would result in more Israeli diamond traders hosting and participating in diamond tenders in Dubai." Alex Peterfreund, managing director of Espeka Diamonds in Dubai was also quoted. Read the full report.

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