Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan display their copies of signed agreements while US President Donald Trump looks on, at the signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords, at the White House in Washington, DC, Sept. 15, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Tom Brenner.
JNS.org– The Abraham Accords Peace Institute (AAPI) convened its inaugural “Trade and Investment Forum” last week at the Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi, led by Chairman Jared Kushner and Executive Director Rob Greenway, under the auspices of Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, national security adviser of the United Arab Emirates.
The forum served as a catalyst for accelerating and deepening the economic ties between the four countries that signed the Abraham Accords: the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
The event brought together high-ranking officials, investment bodies, business leaders and representatives from Israel, the UAE, Israel, Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt, and Jordan to review progress in building economic ties over the past year, prioritize solutions for obstacles to optimal trade and advance decisions regarding strategic initiatives for the coming year.
AAPI presented detailed economic projections and key performance indicators for advancing multilateral and bilateral trade, investment and tourism by 2025, developed with the RAND Corporation in collaboration with member nations of the accords.
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Among its major findings and projections:
Since the historic agreements were reached last year, members of the Abraham Accords have concluded more than 120 memorandums reducing barriers and establishing new connections, resulting in $1.46 billion in increased trade—a 222 percent climb despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Eliminating remaining trade barriers alone could yield $315 billion and a corresponding increase in Gross Domestic Product for members, ranging from 12 percent to 26 percent over 10 years.
The cumulative increase in GDP attributable to expanded trade among the Abraham Accords countries by 2025 could be more significant than has previously been assessed.
The participants discussed advancing strategic bilateral and multilateral initiatives in numerous fields to achieve these goals, including infrastructure, logistics, financial platforms, food security, high tech, healthcare, energy and cooperative tourism ventures. They established working groups to advance and monitor progress in implementing these initiatives and agreed to convene a large-scale Trade and Investment Conference in the first half of 2022.
“Since the historic agreements were reached last year, there has been remarkable progress,” said Greenway. “Yet we all recognize there is even greater potential ahead through eliminating trade barriers, increasing investment and expanding economic connections to European and Asian markets. The forum is a key milestone in advancing the strategic vision and potential of the Abraham Accords.”