Bahrain's Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister, Zayed Rashid al-Zayani speaks during a news conference in Jerusalem December 3, 2020. REUTERS
Bahrain's imports from Israel will not be subject to distinctions between products made within Israel and those from settlements in occupied territory, the Bahraini trade minister said on Thursday.
Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates formalised ties with Israel on Sept. 15, in a U.S.-sponsored deal billed by the Gulf countries as being made possible by Israel's shelving of a plan to annex West Bank settlements. Most world powers deem them illegal.
But Bahrain's Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani voiced openness to settlement imports.
"We will treat Israeli products as Israeli products. So we have no issue with labelling or origin," he told Reuters during a visit to Israel.
The Trump administration last month removed U.S. customs distinctions between goods made within Israel and in settlements.
Israel expects trade with Bahrain worth around $220 million in 2021, not including possible defence and tourism deals.
Al-Zayani said Bahraini carrier Gulf Air was tentatively scheduled to begin flights to Tel Aviv on Jan. 7, with shipping to follow.
"We are fascinated by how integrated IT and innovation sector in Israel has been embedded in every facet of life," he said.
He played down speculation in Israel that its citizens visiting Bahrain could be at risk of reprisals for the assassination last Friday of a top Iranian nuclear scientist, which Tehran blamed on Israeli agents.
"We don't see any threats, and therefore we don't see any requirement for additional security or special treatment for Israelis," he said.
*This story was edited by Ahram Online.