10 August 2017

Southern Africa: SADC Trade Ministers to Meet in SA

Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Mike Bimha will this month attend a high level Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Committee of Ministers of Trade meeting in South Africa.

The meeting is expected to address a number of issues including implementation and consolidation of the Sadc Free Trade Area. Addressing journalists yesterday Dr Bimha said Zimbabwe will attend the meeting with the aim to push for the amendment of clauses enshrined in the trade protocol as the country benefits less from it.

"We would like to see an amendment in the clauses of the protocol which will then enable us to submit our own position as per requirement of the protocol on trade.

"The protocol itself has certain clauses we are not happy with, for example, they say consideration can only be taken when you want to apply for derogation only when you are talking of nothing more than five products. This is not practical because we have more than five products," said Dr Bimha.

This comes as Government introduced Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 which regulated the importation of products to promote locally produced goods.

"We will be also looking at the monitoring, reporting and valuation systems on the protocol on trade, the committee will also receive an update on tripartite and continental free trade area, there will also be a report on the SADC progress on industrialisation strategy and roadmap.

"Key on the agenda as well will be development of regional value chains and promotion of competitiveness in regional industries," said Dr Bimha.

Minister Bimha said Government is in support of initiatives being undertaken by the private sector in developing local value chains. On this part, Government has however come up with the National Competitiveness Commission whose mandate is to reduce cost structures and boosting exports from having goods competitively priced on the global market.

"I am happy that our private sector particularly the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries have already started work on developing local value chains. In terms of competitiveness the government has put together competitiveness act which will guide the work National Competitiveness Commission will be doing.

"And let me say Government is working along these lines to compliment regional efforts," said Dr Bimha

The committee meeting will be succeeded -- by a SADC summit in Pretoria South Africa from August 19-20 themed "Partnering with the private sector in developing industry".

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