Following our recent update on the Abraham Accord, the landmark agreement reached between the United Arab Emirates ("UAE") and Israel on Thursday 13 August 2020, the President of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has announced the abolition of Federal Law No. 15 of 1972 (the "Israel Boycott Law"), through the introduction of Federal Decree-Law No. 4 of 2020 (the "Presidential Decree").
The long-standing Israel Boycott Law was introduced in the UAE in the early 1970's in response to a recommendation by the Secretariat of the Arab League. The Israel Boycott Law made it illegal for any person or company based in the UAE to enter into any agreement (whether directly or through an agent) or trade with Israeli nationals and organisations/persons based in Israel. The Israel Boycott Law was broad in effect and covered all agreements, not just those of a commercial nature. Further, it was also illegal to import or trade in Israeli goods in the UAE, including in the numerous UAE freezones. The penalty for breaching the Israel Boycott Law was imprisonment for a period between three and ten years, as well as the possibility of a fine.
The Presidential Decree formally abolishes the Israel Boycott Law, which will allow individuals and companies based in the UAE to establish dealings, including trade relations and to enter into agreements with Israeli nationals and entities/individuals based in Israel.
According to the UAE's official news agency, WAM, the Presidential Decree has been introduced "as part of the UAE's efforts to expand diplomatic and commercial cooperation with Israel, and by laying out a roadmap towards launching joint cooperation, leading to bilateral relations by stimulating economic growth and promoting technological innovation."
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