Zimbabwean exporters must invest in trademark protection in order to compete in the region, the country’s industry body has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) deputy president Walter Chigwada recently told a business meeting that some firms were made to compete against their own copied products.
“I know some may not be affected by this, but there is trademark violation that happens, where our trademarks are copied. You know, there are attempts to say our products are not quality, but you don’t copy a poor quality product and go and resell it. So, I believe we have got some strong brands,” Chigwada said.
“I’m sure at one point I heard that Kango pots were also being manufactured by other people, copied as they are and competing against your brand, and as a result they will now be cheaper,” he said.
“We have to put a lot of money into protecting these trademarks and brands within the region although it will cost us a lot of money to do that trademark protection. At times, we have to go and fight in certain countries.”
“We had to go to Zambia and it cost us a lot of money, but we had to do it to make sure that our rights are protected. We want to do it effectively, so that we teach the people a lesson that they won’t do it again.”
In response, Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister Sibusiso Moyo, who was at the event, said there was need for strong institutions to fight against trademark violations.
Apart from trademark violations, Zimbabwe’s export trade performance is constrained by a variety of factors, including the poor competitiveness of local goods in international markets due to high transactional costs, high cost of compliance due to over-regulation and excessive penalties, including limited access to trade financing.