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Somalilanders And Ethiopians Celebrate ‎Berbera Corridor's Inauguration
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Somalilanders And Ethiopians Celebrate ‎Berbera Corridor's Inauguration

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Berbera, Somaliland , November 19, 2005 (SL Times) – Government officials from Somaliland and Ethiopia came together Wednesday in this city's old state House building to celebrate the first Ethiopia bound cargo to be imported through the Red Sea port of Berbera .

The cargo which consisted of electric goods ordered by the Ethiopian government owned Electric Power Corporation arrived aboard a Singapore registered liner PIL which docked at Berbera on November 9. The shipment was brought in 55 containers of the 40ft type.

The cargo was later forwarded to Ethiopia by a fleet of 50 Ethiopian registered trucks which earlier this week arrived at Berbera through the border crossing point of Tog-Wajaale.

After protracted negotiations, Somaliland and Ethiopia had formally concluded in May 2005 a trade agreement allowing Ethiopia to use Berbera port for its import and export of goods. The agreement called for the formalization of trade between the two countries and the establishment of customs offices at main border crossing points such as Wajaale and improvement of road infrastructure.

Ethiopia 's export to Somaliland consisted mainly of Qat and vegetables while Somaliland re-exported sugar and rice. But high tariff rates and lack of formal bilateral agreements between the 2 sides have until now limited the scope of trade exchange to the informal sector. However, this week's launching of the Berbera corridor is expected to boost trade between the two countries.

According to Mr. Abdeita Dirbissa, Ethiopia 's representative in Somaliland , at least 2 Ethiopian imported shipments are expected to arrive at Berbera port before end of this month.

Mr. Abdeita was optimistic about the future of trade relations between Ethiopia and Somaliland . He said he was pleased that the dedicated efforts of Somalilanders and Ethiopians have finally paid off.

Alemeyahu Gabre Selassi, Acting Director of Ethiopia Maritime and Transit Service who also participated in last Wednesday's celebration expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome that members of his delegation had received during their stay in Somaliland.

Mr. Gabre Selassi who headed a 10-member Ethiopian delegation to help super vice the clearance and forwarding operations, said he was confident trade between Somaliland and Ethiopia will grow.

Somaliland minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Edna Adan Ismail, told the Ethiopian delegation that her government was committed to making the trade link between the two countries successful.

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