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Israel sees trade with UAE at $4 billion a year

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Annual trade between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is expected to reach $4 billion, an Israeli minister said on Monday.

Israel and the UAE announced in August they would normalize diplomatic relations in a deal brokered by Washington.

The UAE has since announced it was scrapping an economic boycott on Israel and officials from the two countries have said they were looking at cooperation in defense, energy, medicine, tourism, technology and financial investment.

A number of Israeli and Emirati businesses have signed deals since the normalization accord was announced.‮‮ ‬‬

“Within three to five years trade between Israel and the United Arab Emirates will reach $4 billion,” Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen told Israel’s Reshet Bet radio station.

A spokesman for Cohen, Israel’s former economy minister, said the figure was annual and included defense trade.

Israeli carrier Israir said on Sunday it had reserved slots for commercial flights from Tel Aviv to the UAE, preparing for potential tourism.

The heads of Israel’s two biggest banks will travel to the UAE this month, the first such visits since the countries agreed to normalize relations.

Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Ed Osmond

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