Com­mon Mar­ket safe from Im­port re­stric­tion Im­ports ban a safe­guard mea­sure: Bimha

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business -

ZIMBABWE does not have a trade dis­pute with South Africa fol­low­ing a de­ci­sion by au­thor­i­ties to bar im­ports of ba­sic food prod­ucts from its south­ern neigh­bour, In­dus­try and Com­merce Min­is­ter Mike Bimha has said.

“These are just safe­guard mea­sures,” Bimha told re­porters on Mon­day at a Con­fed­er­a­tion of Zimbabwe In­dus­tries meet­ing in Bu­l­awayo, south­east of the cap­i­tal.

“We met with the South Africans last week and ad­vised them of our po­si­tion, these are bi­lat­eral is­sues, there are no prob­lems at all and we will

for Eastern and South­ern Africa sets out the foun­da­tion for the de­vel­op­ment of com­pe­ti­tion pol­icy in the Com­mon Mar­ket.

Ar­ti­cle 55(1) specif­i­cally re­quires mem­ber states to con­tinue to talk.”

Zimbabwe an­nounced a ban on im­ports of var­i­ous goods in June, in­clud­ing cos­met­ics, ce­re­als, cheese, canned goods and fur­ni­ture, say­ing it needed to de­velop lo­cal in­dus­tries.

“South Africa has the re­quire­ment that all phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­ucts des­tined for that coun­try be trans­ported by air and not by road, but when their prod­ucts come here they use roads, which is cheaper,” Bimha said. “We are tak­ing back our jobs and they must un­der­stand that.” — Bloomberg

pre­scribe con­duct that has the effect of negat­ing free and lib­er­alised trade within the Com­mon Mar­ket, which is the prin­ci­pal ob­jec­tive of the re­gional com­pe­ti­tion pol­icy.

To re­alise this ob­jec­tive, the Comesa Treaty pro­vides in Ar­ti­cle 55(3) that the “Coun­cil shall make reg­u­la­tions to reg­u­late com­pe­ti­tion within the Mem­ber States”.

In com­pli­ance with this Ar­ti­cle, Comesa has adopted a re­gional com­pe­ti­tion pol­icy through the pub­li­ca­tion of the Comesa Com­pe­ti­tion Reg­u­la­tions which are sup­ple­mented by the Comesa Com­pe­ti­tion Rules.

“With the in­creas­ingly transna­tional char­ac­ter of com­pe­ti­tion cases, a holis­tic re­gional com­pe­ti­tion regime is es­sen­tial to over­come the en­force­ment gap of the tra­di­tion­ally ter­ri­to­rial scope of na­tional com­pe­ti­tion laws.

“Na­tional au­thor­i­ties are in­creas­ingly be­ing called upon to pro­tect con­sumers from anti-com­pet­i­tive con­duct orig­i­nat­ing out­side their ju­ris­dic­tion. Con­sumers on the mar­ket are a largely un­or­gan­ised group, with lit­tle bar­gain­ing power, poor knowl­edge of their rights and the av­enues for en­forc­ing these rights are even more chal­leng­ing in the con­text of an open mar­ket economy,” said Mr Lip­im­ile.

In this con­text, the ne­ces­sity for ef­fec­tive re­gional com­pe­ti­tion pol­icy and more im­por­tantly, re­gional co­op­er­a­tion on com­pe­ti­tion pol­icy, can­not there­fore be wished away.

Mr Lip­im­ile com­ment­ing on the no­tion that com­pe­ti­tion au­thor­i­ties are the stum­bling block on busi­ness trans­ac­tions, said com­pe­ti­tion au­thor­i­ties have a role to play in fa­cil­i­tat­ing busi­ness trans­ac­tions rather than frus­trat­ing them.

He said be­fore a busi­ness trans­ac­tion is ap­proved the Com­mis­sion un­der­goes a mas­sive con­sul­ta­tive pro­gramme to as­cer­tain the in­tri­cate de­tails of any trans­ac­tion.

“Com­pe­ti­tion au­thor­i­ties are not there to in­jure busi­ness trans­ac­tions but it’s our duty to make sure busi­ness trans­ac­tions sail through in a com­pet­i­tive man­ner. Re­mem­ber the Comesa is also work­ing to­gether with mem­ber States in try­ing to im­prove in­vest­ment lev­els in the eco­nomic bloc.

“Gov­ern­ments have been the big­gest driv­ers of un­com­pet­i­tive busi­ness en­vi­ron­ments across the re­gion. Rather they are the ones who are at the fore­front of sti­fling com­pe­ti­tion’’, said Mr Lip­im­ile.

“Com­pe­ti­tion has been sti­fled by Gov­ern­ments mostly due to im­po­si­tion of bans on cer­tain prod­ucts, ex­ces­sive li­cences re­quired to start a busi­ness and the amounts re­quired for some­one to start a busi­ness.”

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