Take ad­van­tage of trade agree­ments, firms told

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Bianca Mlilo Busi­ness Re­porter

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

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