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USTDA-Lanka MoU strengthens trade ties : 

Technical assistance for implementation of Container Security Act

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) will provide technical assistance supporting the implementation of the U.S. Customs Container Security Initiative (CSI) in Sri Lanka, making the country more attractive as a regional hub for trade activity.

James F. Entwistle, Charges, d'Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka, signed a memorandum of understanding conferring technical assistance on behalf of the USTDA. Charitha Ratwatte, Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, signed on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka on Wdensday.

The goal of the CSI is to secure an indispensable but vulnerable link in the chain of global trade: the oceangoing sea container. USTDA's technical assistance will allow the Government of Sri Lanka to meet one of the minimum eligibility requirements for CSI participation, the availability and use of non-intrusive inspectional equipment for conducting cargo inspections.

USTDA has entered into a contract with the U.S. company Aerospace Services International, Inc. to assist the GOSL in: (1) the evaluation of cargo scanning system needs based upon surveys of the air and sea ports and consultations with GOSL authorities; (2) preparation of draft tender documents; (3) advisory assistance on financing options; and (4) assistance with evaluation of tenders.

The implementation of CSI has significant trade and security implications for both the United States and Sri Lanka. CSI consists of four core elements: (1) establishing security criteria to identify high-risk containers; (2) pre-screening containers before they arrive at U.S. ports; (3) using technology to pre-screen high-risk containers; and (4) developing and using smart and secure containers.

If these steps are successfully implemented, Colombo would be the first port in South Asia to be certified under CSI.

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries. The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, feasibility studies, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment.

USTDA's strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development. In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.

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