Zim engages Sadc over market access

ZIMBABWE is still engaging Sadc on full market access as it has not yet fully implemented the Sadc Free Trade Area due to industrialisation, a government official has said.

BY BUSINESS REPORTER

In a statement early this week, Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development minister Mike Bimha admitted that the country had engaged Sadc over full market access.

“Zimbabwe is still engaging Sadc on the full market access offer and has not fully implemented the Sadc Free Trade Area due to de-industrialisation. As a result, Zimbabwe has submitted its application for special dispensation for derogation for its outstanding tariff commitments under the Sadc Protocol on Trade to the Committee of Ministers of Trade,” he said.

“Member states have made preliminary comments on the application and have requested for bilateral engagements as well as additional information so that they can undertake their national consultations before pronouncing themselves on the issues. Member States are expected to accelerate the implementation of value chains in pharmaceuticals, agro-processing and mineral beneficiation.”

Bimha said the objective was to consolidate regional integration, as member states continue processes in the implementation of the Sadc industrialisation strategy and roadmap.

This comes as government is seeking to increase trade in the region.

Bimha also discussed proceedings at the Comesa 20th Heads of State and Government summit held in Lusaka, Zambia held last week.

“Zimbabwe’s exports to Comesa reduced from $86 million in 2016 to $83 million, representing a 3,4% decrease in domestic exports to the region.”

“Zimbabwe’s top exports are cane sugar (15%), fish (8%), and tobacco (4%). In 2017, 69% of Zimbabwe’s exports to the Comesa region were mostly destined for Zambia, Kenya (21%) and Malawi (6%). Other countries in Comesa accounted for 4% of the remaining exports. There are distinct opportunities here and I would like to urge the private sector to target the Comesa region and take up more market share.”

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