Take advantage of trade agreements, firms told
ZIMBABWEAN companies have been urged to take advantage of trade agreements to which the country is a signatory to penetrate the foreign market and increase their earnings.
Zimbabwe has signed several bilateral and regional preferential trade agreements, which have not been fully exploited for the benefit of the economy.
A trade agreement is classified as bilateral (BTA) when signed between two countries. Some of the bilateral agreements signed include: Zimbabwe–Botswana (S.I 192 of 1988), Zimbabwe-Malawi (S.I 103 of 1995), Zimbabwe-Namibia (S.I 156A of 1993), Zimbabwe-Republic of South Africa (S.I 317 of 2000) and Zimbabwe-Mozambique (S.I 33 of 2005).
Speaking during a ZimTrade export awareness seminar in Bulawayo yesterday, an official from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) said trade agreements were meant to stimulate the economy by facilitating mutual benefits.
“Trade agreements facilitate trade between or among member states, boost economic activity and enhance cooperation between member states. They create a good environment for investment as manufacturers position themselves for markets created,” said the official.
“One of the requirements to exporting is that of local content, which means a percentage of all manufactured products should have been processed in the country.
“This simply means that they should go through a substantial manufacturing process to change the nature of the product.”
The official said the agreements result in specific products being accorded preferential treatment on entry into the importing country.
Preferential treatment means that the products will attract reduced or no customs duties in the importing country. As such exported products become competitive.
Participants also said Zimbabwe stands to benefit immensely from regional trade agreements through trade protocols with the Southern African Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and South Africa’s free trade area.
Zimbabwe is also a member of the East and Southern African-European Union (ESA-EU) interim Economic Partnership Agreement, which provides preferential access for its exports to the European Union.
To be able to enjoy the benefits accorded by these trade agreements, a manufacturer should register their product under the trade agreement with the country it wants to export to. — @BiancaMlilo