TRADE between Zimbabwe and Sweden is very negligible, but has potential to grow if economic reforms to improve the business climate were implemented, Swedish ambassador to Zimbabwe Sofia Calltorp, has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Calltorp revealed this at a seminar on How to export to Sweden held in Bulawayo on Wednesday.
“Trade between Sweden and Zimbabwe is very limited, but has potential to grow as Zimbabwe is a market with great opportunities, particularly if economic reforms to improve the business climate are implemented,” she said.
According to Trade Map, Sweden’s imports from Zimbabwe in 2015 were $1 million and the main products imported included citrus fruits, footwear, ferro-alloys and sculptures.
During the same period, Sweden’s exports to Zimbabwe were $15,5 million and the major products imported by Zimbabwe were machinery and components for cellular networks.
Calltorp said economic growth was needed to reduce the world poverty and Sweden, therefore, promotes market development by supporting development of the private sector, trade, financial systems and job-creation in her partner countries.
“In order for the private sector to be able to contribute to economic growth, it is necessary to create more inclusive, transparent and effective markets that can provide access to jobs, products, opportunities to sell goods and financial services,” she said.
“In short, we want to help poorer countries to integrate into the international trade, as well as in regional markets.”
The seminar, held by ZimTrade in collaboration with Open Trade Gate Sweden and the embassy of Sweden in Zimbabwe, focused on clothing, textiles and leather products.
It provided the requisite market intelligence to assist Zimbabwean companies that have potential and capacity to penetrate the EU market, in general, and the Swedish market, in particular.
ZimTrade chief executive officer, Sithembile Pilime said an analysis of the Swedish import bill indicated that in 2015, Sweden imported $4,4 billion of clothing and textiles and $4 billion of leather products from the entire world.
“These are products that Zimbabwe is currently exporting. There is, therefore, potential for Zimbabwe tap into this market,” she said.
Zimbabwe’s ratification of the interim Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU in 2012, opened opportunities for a wide range of products to be exported duty free and quota free to the EU, she said.