South Africa has engaged Zimbabwe over its restrictions of imports to boost local industries, saying such a move had negative implications on intra-regional trade.
BY BUSINESS REPORTER
Three weeks ago, the government promulgated Statutory Instrument (S1) 64 of 2016, which restricted the importation of certain products in an ambitious drive to promote local
It said those who wanted to import the products had to secure a permit, which costs $30 and is valid for three months, but only after convincing authorities with reasons why the products should be brought into the country.
In a statement on Sunday, South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) spokesperson, Sidwell Medupe said because of the adverse impact on South African exporters, engagements have been made over the matter.
“On behalf of the South African government, Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies has been engaging the Zimbabwean government bilaterally and through the Sadc structures to find an amicable solution that is in accordance with Zimbabwe’s obligations of the Sadc Protocol on Trade, while at the same time being sensitive to Zimbabwe’s industrial development and balance of payments challenges,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s position, Medupe said, was that “these trade restrictions are necessary to support the development of local industries and to relieve the pressure of economic sanctions, which have led to balance of payments challenges”.
Medupe said at a recent meeting of the Sadc committee of Trade ministers, South Africa and Zimbabwe were requested to report to the regional bloc on the implications of these measures for the coherence of the Sadc trade protocol.The import ban was condemned by cross border traders.
Last week, government tweaked the import ban by specifying the quantities of products individuals can import into the country.
A Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) notice released last week said individuals could bring into the country, among other items, a maximum of 1kg coffee creamers (Cremora), cereals (2kg), hair products (6 packets of a weight not exceeding 1,5kg), washing powder (4kg), mayonnaise or salad creams (not exceeding 2 litres) and bar soap (box of 24).
There are also potato crisps (one pack of 12 of 125g each), peanut butter (2kg), jams (2kg), canned fruits and vegetables (2kg), yoghurt (1kg), cheese (1kg), juice blend (4 litres), camphor creams, white petroleum jellies (180ml) as well as shoe polish (one pack of 12 of 50ml or 40g each).
Zimra said the allowance was granted once a month on the first entry only.