Israel reaches out to international grocery store chains in the United Arab Emirates


YERUSHALAYIM —

The Carrefour supermarket in Faa’a, Tahiti, French Polynesia. It has 12,225 stores in more than 30 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, and possibly soon in Israel as well.

The Ministry of Economy and Industry wants to invite major international food chains operating in the United Arab Emirates to open stores in Israel, Globes reported on Wednesday.

The ministry’s director general, Ron Malka, and other senior officials are expected to hold meetings with heads of supermarket chains in the UAE, alongside negotiations on a free trade agreement between the UAE and Israel, it said. sources.

The reason for bringing global food suppliers to Israel is to stimulate competition in the Israeli market, the absence of which has been blamed for high prices.

Three companies mentioned in the report were: France’s Carrefour, which is second in the world for sales, after Walmart; Lulu Group International, headquartered in Abu Dhabi with branches throughout the Arab world and the Far East; and UK supermarket chain Waitrose.

Meetings with these companies are planned during the visit of Malka and his team to the United Arab Emirates to negotiate a free trade agreement. Sources tell Globes the deal was due to be signed in May, but progress has been so impressive they believe it could be signed earlier, in April.

Ohad Cohen, head of the Foreign Trade Administration at the Ministry of Economy and Industry, said the FTA will bring great benefits to Israeli businesses. The United Arab Emirates has free trade agreements with the Gulf States and with the EFTA countries (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), and once Israel is introduced, it will also be able to trade free of customs duties with these countries.

Israel currently has free trade agreements with the US, EU, Turkey, most Latin American countries, Ukraine and the UK. An additional agreement was signed with South Korea last year, and an agreement with India is expected to be signed later this year. . China, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia are on the list of potential partners.