20 May 2014

Zambia: Govt, COMESA Act to Boost AGOA Exports

THE Government in collaboration with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has put in place a committee which will look at ways and means of increasing exports to the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) market in the United States of America(USA).

Commerce Trade and Industry Minister Bob Sichinga said there were a number of issues that needed to be addressed such as the Phytosanitary and sanitary measures.

Mr Sichinga said that was the more reason Government had decided to undertake a study on what impact the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA)s would have on Zambia if she signed or did not with European Union (EU).

He said the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) was helping Government to undertake that study in collaboration with COMESA.

There are 18 countries involved of which Zambia was chair and the decision would depend on the outcome of the study.

"As Government, we have decided to undertake a study to see what impact the EPAs will have on Zambia if signed and what impact it will have if not signed." he said.

The minister said once the study was completed, government will go by the recommendations that will come out of the study.

We must build capacity for industry and improve the quality of products which should be sold within and outside the country," Mr Sichinga said.

Zambia's export to the USA under AGOA recently rose to $47.3 million from $26.9 million registered in 2010, but Mr Sichinga said the trade figures between the two countries were still low.

Mr Sichinga said recently that while Zambia's exports to the USA were growing, the figures remained far below the country's imports from that country.

"These are not the desirable figures that a developing country would want to have with a big economy such as the USA," he said.

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