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Sudan, Ethiopia agree to establish free trade zones

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June 14, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s state finance minister, Abdel-Rahman Dirar, said that Ethiopia has agreed to establish free trade zones between the two countries.

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Sudanese president Omer Al- Bashir and Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn sign a series of joint cooperation agreements in Khartoum 4 December 2013 (Photo SUNA)

Since several years, Khartoum and Addis Ababa signed a number of bilateral agreements aiming to promote and strengthen economic ties between the two countries. Sudan’s support to Ethiopia in its conflict with Egypt over the Renaissance dam was highly appreciated by its eastern neighbour.

In his address before the joint Sudanese-Ethiopian technical committee in Khartoum on Sunday, Dirar said that facilitating money transfer would increase trade exchange and investment between the two nations.

He said the Ethiopian side has agreed to proposals offered by Sudan to address problems facing investors from both countries besides establishing free trade zones.

The Sudanese state minister further said that consulting firms would determine those zones and present them to the joint technical committee within 45 days.

He added the committee would approve the requirements for establishing the trade zones after it reviews the feasibility studies provided by the consulting firms. He pointed that all currencies recognized by the two countries will be used in the free zones.

Dirar said that Sudan is considered Ethiopia’s second largest partner in terms of trade exchange.

The meetings of the joint technical committee also discussed problems facing the preferential trade besides opening branches for the Ethiopian banks in Sudan and vice-versa and increasing the number of correspondent banks in both countries.

Last February, the Sudanese president Omer al-Bashir said his country is determined to promote the existing relations within the shared strategic vision the two neighbours stride together in order to open wide horizons for joint cooperation in all fields.

Bashir, who attended celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), stressed that Khartoum will aggressively engage to transform the large shared borders of Ethiopia and Sudan into a comprehensive economic integration.

As well as energy linkages, with Sudan’s oil and Ethiopia’s hydro-power processed electricity exchange, the two countries currently have an ongoing joint projects aimed to link their borders with roads and rail ways.

(ST)

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