TEL AVIV - The Israel and Dubai diamond exchanges have signed an agreement to promote cooperation in a deal certain to boost direct trade between the Middle East's main diamond hubs.
The agreement was announced on Thursday two days after Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed an historic agreement to normalize ties and marks a further development in economic collaboration.
The diamond deal, finalised in a video conference ceremony, was welcome news for an industry hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and overall weaker global demand.
As part of the agreement, the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) will open an office in Dubai and the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) will open one in Ramat Gan, home to the Israeli exchange.
The two parties said they will share experience and knowledge, work to promote bilateral trade and collaborate on exhibitions, visits and conferences. They also agreed to arrange an Israeli-Dubai diamond fair to be held in Dubai and Ramat Gan and to promote electronic trade.
Israel is one of the leading exporters of polished diamonds. IDE President Yoram Dvash said that Dubai, with its free zone and convenient business conditions, has become one of the most important diamond centers in the world.
The Dubai Diamond Exchange is part of the government-owned DMCC. The total value of rough and polished diamonds traded in Dubai last year exceeded $23 billion, the DMCC said.
"This agreement will attract businesses to the emirate as well as boost the regional and international trade of this precious stone," said Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive chairman of the DMCC and chairman of the Dubai Diamond Exchange.
Israel's diamond exports fell 28% in 2019 to $4.9 billion.
(Reporting by Tova Cohen and Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Angus MacSwan) ((email@example.com; +972-9-899-0222; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))