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Israel, Bahrain start talks on free trade agreement

BE'ER SHEVA, ISRAEL - MARCH 28: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY - MANDATORY CREDIT - ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTRY / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (R) and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif Bin Rashid Al Zayani (L) shake hands after signing a cooperation agreement within "Negev Summit" in Negev district of Be'er Sheva, Israel on March 28, 2022. ( İsrail Dışişleri Bakanlığı - Anadolu Agency )
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (R) and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif Bin Rashid Al Zayani (L) shake hands after signing a cooperation agreement within "Negev Summit" in Negev district of Be'er Sheva, Israel on March 28, 2022 [İsrail Dışişleri Bakanlığı - Anadolu Agency]

Israel and Bahrain on Tuesday announced the start of negotiations to reach a free trade agreement between the two countries, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Israeli Economy Minister, Orna Barbivai, held official talks on Monday with her Bahraini counterpart to establish a free trade agreement between Tel Aviv and Manama, the Israeli Economy Ministry said in a statement.

Barbivai said the agreement will help strengthen bilateral relations and help "remove barriers, expand economic cooperation and build further bridges between the two countries."

Read: Israel's trade with Arab nations reaches record increases after normalisation 

According to the statement, trade exchange between Israel and Bahrain boomed to $7.5 million in 2021, with Israeli exports to Bahrain totaling $4 million in the fields of precious metals, chemical industry products, and electric engineering machines, while Israeli imports from Bahrain were estimated at $3.5 million.

Bahrain was among the four Arab countries that signed US-sponsored agreements to normalise their relations with Israel in 2020. The other countries were the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco.

Read: PA condemns Arab FMs' meeting with Israel while Palestine remains under occupation 

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