Israel and the United Arab Emirates agreed Sunday to take effect a free trade agreement aimed at reducing or canceling tariffs on about 96 percent of goods traded between the two countries, Israel's Foreign Ministry said.

The two countries first reached the agreement in May, promising to boost bilateral trade after normalizing relations in 2020 in a US-brokered deal, Reuters reported.

The ministry said the agreement would allow Israeli companies to participate in government tenders held by the UAE.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who on Sunday signed his final approval of the tariff arrangements as part of the trade deal, said it would strengthen ties with the UAE and that Israel was working to normalize relations with more Arab countries.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Hayat was quoted by AFP as saying the agreement was the "final stage" before the free trade agreement "enters into force on the first of April".

In 2022, the value of trade exchange between Israel and the UAE exceeded $ 2.5 billion, excluding information products and services, placing Abu Dhabi in 16th place in the list of Israel's largest trading partners, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Since the normalization of relations between them, the UAE and Israel have signed several agreements in various fields.

In February last year, Israeli media revealed that Abu Dhabi would invest $10 billion in Israeli companies.