The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya, Sri Lanka to Improve Trade Ties

KENYA and Sri Lanka will partner to improve security on sea lanes within the Indian Ocean and improve shipping and port connectivity under a new agreement signed by the two countries.

On Saturday, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa today signed an agreement establishing the Kenya-Sri Lanka Joint Commission for Cooperation that will be responsible for advancing bilateral ties in various areas and sectors between the tro countries.

According to a statement from State House, Kenya also wants to partner with Sri Lanka in the development of production and processing capacity in agriculture particularly in coconut processing, minerals processing, hospitality, textiles development and financial services.

"Given the two countries' shared interest in the Indian Ocean, the two leaders agreed to launch initiatives in shipping and port connectivity,

the sustainable management and extraction of ocean based resources and ensuring security of sea lanes particularly from the threat of piracy," said the statement from State House.

A study by the International Criminal Police Organization, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Bank released in October estimated that piracy cost the global economy about $18 billion (Sh16 trillion) a year in increased trade costs, and reduced maritime activity around the Horn of Africa.

The two presidents have also instructed the relevant institutions in their countries to start talks that will culminate in conclusion of agreements in investment promotion and protection and avoidance of double taxation.

Rajapaksa was in the country to attend celebrations to mark 50 years of independence for Kenya.

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