European Union head of delegation Aldo Dell’Ariccia says the return of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines into Zimbabwe after 13 years will boost trade between the Southern African country and the Western bloc.
Bernard Mpofu Chief Business Reporter
Dell’Ariccia told guests at a breakfast meeting hosted by the Netherlands embassy to Zimbabwe that local hunting and horticulture business were set to grow due to KLM’s return.
He said trade between Zimbabwe and the EU, the second major trading partner after South Africa, remained strong, adding that policy consistency by government would maintain an upward trajectory.
“One of the elements of Zimbabwe’s exports to the European Union is horticultural products — that is fruit and flowers. The Netherlands is one of the most important flower markets in the world and to direct connection from Zimbabwe to the Netherlands is extremely important for the market,” Dell’Ariccia said.
Trade between Zimbabwe and the EU, according Dell’Ariccia, has doubled since 2009 and remains “healthy and growing” with a positive trade balance for Zimbabwe. He added that between 2010 and 2011 trade between the two increased by at least 36%.
The EU is the biggest market for horticultural products, accounting for 80% of flower exports, 70% of vegetables and 50% of citrus.
“Since March 14 this year, Zimbabwe, together with Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles, became the first region in Africa that has an economic partnership with the European Union, which means that all the products of Zimbabwe access the European market, which is one of the most important markets in the world free of quota and free of duties,” he said.
“It’s now up to Zimbabwe to ensure that charges at the airports become a little bit reasonable and of course KLM has to ensure that tariffs will further improve the competiveness of Zimbabwe products on the European markets.”
Dell’Ariccia added: “We expect from Zimbabwe to be a little bit more consistent in its policy in this field (of tourism) both in terms of facilitating the hunting for European hunters and also the export of trophies they would have hunted in the country. There is need for clarity, ambiguity in certain cases is a deterrent for investors.”
Statistics show that last year, Zimbabwe exported 12 000 tonnes of vegetables to the European bloc up from 10 000 tonnes in 2010.