Lusaka — The private sector in Zambia on Friday welcomed China's decision to offer duty free access of Zambian products to the Asian country's market, saying this will provide Zambia with a wider market choice, an industry official said.
On Wednesday, Zambia and China signed four economic partnership agreements, including duty free treatment of 95 percent tariff lines for Zambian products. Under the agreement, Zambian exporters will enjoy duty free exports to China of up to 95 percent from the current 60 percent.
Close to 8,000 Zambian products will benefit from this preferential duty.
Yusuf Dodia, the chairperson of the Private Sector Development Association (PSDA), a lobby group for private sector players in the country, said the move is welcomed because Zambia's predominant export markets had been the European Union (EU) and South Africa.
"It is a very welcome development for Zambia because traditionally our export market for products has been to South Africa and the EU. Currently, the EU is going through some economic challenges and the opening up of China means that Zambia will now have alternate market for exporting products," he said in a telephone interview.
According to him, the huge market in China will be able to offer Zambian products a ready market, adding it also provides better competition for Zambia's export markets and urges the private sector in the country to utilize the huge Chinese market.
He however hoped the Chinese government will not impose non- tariff barriers which affect Zambian products from penetrating the United States market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) duty free offer.
"The demand for phytosanitary requirements for our agricultural products resulted in Zambia's agriculture products failing to penetrate the American market and we hope that this will not be the case with China," he added.
The official has further asked financial lending institutions to partner with the private sector in order to build their capacity so that they can be able to produce enough products to cater for the Chinese market.
"We are also appealing to the Bank of China which has an office in Zambia to be proactive in promoting Zambian exports to China," he said.
Editor: Yang Lina