ZimTrade, the national trade development and promotion organisation in partnership with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Trade (DIT) in Harare, will be conducting an outward mission which will see 20 local companies take part in trade exhibitions and B2B meetings in London, Coventry and Birmingham.
The objective is for companies to establish contacts, the aim being ultimately to expand their export markets.
The mission, taking place from the 2nd of September to the 6th of September 2019 is expected to kickstart with a trade and investment seminar and B2B meetings in London, followed by a trade exhibition at the Specialty and Fine Food Fair on the 3rd of September. Local companies attending the mission are from different industry sectors which include, clothing and textiles, horticulture, leather products, arts & crafts, processed foods, biometric access control systems, among others.
Of the 20 local companies attending there are 5 new exporting companies who are ready to explore the EU market for the first time.
ZimTrade Chief Executive Officer, Allan Majuru, said that they are expecting a fruitful mission and have an itinerary in place to make the most of the time abroad.
“As ZimTrade, our core mission is to develop and promote trade and, on this particular mission, we shall meet various companies and organisations such as buyers of horticultural products, FMCG companies, suppliers of yarn and fabric, departmental stores, art galleries, art and craft centres, among other relevant interests,” he said.
Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom already share a trade agreement under the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement which allows for duty-free and quota free market access to the UK and other European Union (27) Members.
United Kingdom has been one of the major source markets and export destinations for Zimbabwean products in the European Union. In 2018, the UK was the third best export market taking 21% of the product destined for the EU28, as a source market the UK was the biggest supplier, providing 22% of the total exports by EU28 to Zimbabwe
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Whilst exports are increasing, of concern is the fact that the structure of trade is skewed in favour of commodities such as diamonds which constituted 72% of total exports in 2018. There is, therefore, a need to support the export of value-added goods and services that have potential in the UK market.
Apart from the outward mission, ZimTrade has introduced different projects and programmes that educate and equip local companies to take advantage of export opportunities in the UK market. These projects include the Ndiyadzo pineapple project in Chipinge where twenty-two (22) pineapple farmers are being assisted to obtain organic certification so that they can access this and other international markets.
The UK is working on leaving the EU in the coming months and is now focused on strengthening bilateral and trade ties with other partners outside this grouping. Zimbabwe has drafted a bilateral trade agreement in preparation for BREXIT to strengthen the already existing trade relationships. This will also open up new trade and investment opportunities for Zimbabwe on a bilateral level.