ZIM-SA TRADE TALKS TACKLE SI64
Import restrictions to last between two and three years
ZIMBABWE has told South Africa that the import restrictions introduced in June this year through Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 will last between two and three years.
SI 64 of 2016 removed 42 products from the open general import licence, restricting their importation into Zimbabwe, as it was felt that local industry has capacity to produce them.
The legislation controls a wide array of imports among them coffee creamers, camphor creams, white petroleum jellies, body lotions, builders’ ware such as wheel barrows, structures and parts of structures of iron or steel, bridges and bridge sections, lock gates, lattice masts, roof, roof frameworks and doors.
As such, during the latest chapter of bilateral trade and economic cooperation meetings with South Africa, Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha apprised his South African counterpart, Mr Rob Davies, on the background to the present state of industry and, circumstances leading to the restrictions.
While the Government will control importation of products, where it has been proven goods can be produced locally, it will also mobilise funding to support the recovery of areas protected through SI 64 measures.
“These measures are time bound. They are not there forever. Two to three years is what we’re looking at,” Minister Bimha said.
He said a monitoring and evaluation committee has been put in place to assess the impact of the measures.
Among the key trade issues discussed during the meeting in South Africa on Thursday were the import control measures Zimbabwe introduced through SI 64 and the requirement by South Africa for pharmaceutical imports to enter the country by air.
Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday in the presence of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Chris Mushohwe, Minister Bimha said Pretoria welcomed his submission on the justification for import controls while Harare would look into South Africa’s request for duty or tax phase down on certain products or outright removal.
“These measures were well received by our counterparts. South Africa (trade minister) emphasised that they cherish the good relations between our two countries and acknowledged the role trade plays in the economies of our countries,” he said.