SOMALIA – Somalia is gearing up for the formal export of fish and fruit products to its neighboring country, Ethiopia, following the recent signing of a comprehensive bilateral trade agreement.
This historic agreement aims to combat smuggling and foster legitimate trade ties between the two nations.
At the core of this accord lies the determination to tackle the issue of smuggling, which had previously led Somalia to suspend its livestock exports to Ethiopia.
A Joint Ministerial Commission meeting held in Mogadishu culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Ethiopia and Somalia, marking a significant milestone in their trade relations.
The primary objective of the MoU is to strengthen bilateral trade relations and promote mutual benefits in the trade sector. Ethiopia’s Minister of Trade and Regional Integration, Gebremeskel Chala, highlighted the importance of the agreement, underlining its role in boosting legitimate trade between the two nations.
Minister Gebremeskel expressed the government’s commitment to supporting private business investors and eliminating illegal transactions.
“In order to increase production and marketing exchange, the government will play its role so that private business investors are active participants,” he affirmed.
Acknowledging that unofficial trade between Somalia and Ethiopia had thrived due to rampant smuggling, the newly signed MoU established a legal framework to facilitate legitimate trade.
It opens doors for goods such as livestock, cattle, and agricultural products from Ethiopia to be exchanged for Somali exports like fish and fruits.
Furthermore, the Ethiopian government is extending its support to private sector stakeholders, helping them navigate bureaucratic obstacles to ensure a streamlined process for cross-border business activities.
Minister Gebremeskel emphasized that both countries had made informed political decisions at the government level to facilitate this agreement.
Senior trade officials meticulously reviewed technical details, achieving consensus and reaffirming their commitment to fostering stronger economic ties while eradicating illicit trade practices between Ethiopia and Somalia.
As this bilateral trade agreement takes effect, it not only paves the way for the formal export of fish and fruit products but also signifies a broader commitment to legitimate trade and economic collaboration between these East African nations.
The accord is expected to curb smuggling, boost economic activities, and enhance the livelihoods of people in both countries, ultimately fostering a more prosperous future for the region.