Bahrain's trade minister speaks to i24NEWS

Laura Cellier

Host of 'Middle East Now' on i24NEWS

2 min read
Bahrain's Minister of Industry and Commerce Zayed bin Rashid Al Zayani (L) speaks to i24NEWS' Laura Cellier on October 31, 2022.
i24NEWSBahrain's Minister of Industry and Commerce Zayed bin Rashid Al Zayani (L) speaks to i24NEWS' Laura Cellier on October 31, 2022.

'Bahrain and Israel had come a long way since the signing of the Abraham Accords'

Bahrain’s Minister of Industry and Commerce HE Zayed bin Rashid Al-Zayani led a 50 member delegation to Israel on Sunday. 

The biggest such delegation since the signing of the Abraham Accords, the mission's objective was to further negotiations towards a free trade agreement between the two countries.

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Minister Al Zayani said he expects the deal to be signed by the end of this year, conceding that the current level of trade between the two countries was ‘modest’. Trade between Israel and Bahrain totaled just $7.5 million in 2021.

Two memoranda of understanding were signed in the fields of trade and fintech.

This follows a similar cooperation agreement last week in agriculture.

When asked about concerns that Israel was on the verge of electing a hard right government, Minister Al Zayani said “Bahrain and Israel had come a long way since the signing of the Abraham Accords” and that it would be “very unfortunate if someone was to come in and reverse the cycle.”

He ventured that the rest of the Arab world was watching to see how the Abraham Accords signatories were progressing because “the aim is not to stop at three countries.”

When pressed on the inflammatory statements made by Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir, Minister Al Zayani said “We’d rather not hear such statements but we have to see this as a long term project and look at the bigger picture.”

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