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Kenya, U.S. mull measures to boost trade and direct flight

21 January 2015, 08:34

Nairobi - President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday held talks with a visiting U.S. business official to discuss ways of boosting trade and direct flight between the two countries.

In a statement issued in Nairobi after the meeting, Executive Vice President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Myron Brilliant said they discussed plans to set up a U.S-Kenya Business Council, which will be a facilitator of investment between the two countries.

Speaking during the talks, Kenyatta said he looked forward to the business forum, adding that the government fully supports it.

Kenyatta said he would encourage initiatives aimed at improving relations between the U.S., Kenya and East African businesses, adding that there is need to find a quicker solution on the issue of direct flights and welcomed the initiatives undertaken by the American chamber of commerce concerning the question.

Brilliant supported President Kenyatta's stance on direct flights between the two countries.

"Direct flights are important. To come here, I flew to Ethiopia. We cannot facilitate direct commerce without direct flights. Our chamber will continue to engage the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Trade on this. We need to find a way to deal with this issue and make progress," Brilliant said.

Kenya's Transport CS Michael Kamau on Monday said the Federal Aviation Authority will carry out the final evaluation of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

The East African nation has been executing recommendations by the U.S. government to enhance security, including separation of passenger arrivals and departures, clearing the flight path and fencing off the airport.

All airports are required to attain Category One status before they can launch direct flights to the United States. U.S.-based Delta Airlines and Fedex have expressed interest in starting operations to Kenya.

Currently, flights from Kenya terminate in Europe from where travellers make connecting flights to the United States.

Brilliant was due to hold discussions with captains of the industry including Kenya Private Sector Alliance and senior government officials during his tour in the country.

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- Xinhua


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