Southern Africa: Call for Zim-Zambia to Strengthen Trade Cooperation

Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter

ZIMBABWE and Zambia should take advantage of their historical ties to strengthen economic cooperation, the Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador Albert Chimbindi, said yesterday.

Opening a two-day Joint Trade and Customs Committee meeting in Harare, in a speech read on his behalf by Chief Director in the Ministry, Rofina Chikava, Ambassador Chimbindi said the objective of the meeting was to continue the legacy of cooperation between the two countries, especially in promoting trade and investment, thereby improving the welfare of citizens.

He said the two countries should use their historical ties, dating back to the colonial era, to strengthen economic cooperation.

"I know the young generations might not remember this, but we know that we in Zimbabwe have people lying in graves in Zambia. Now that we are independent, we have our two countries, what should we do? We should now make sure that our economic development is linked to each other, because we cannot separate ourselves now. We have, as people of the two countries, to take advantage of the comparative advantages that are almost similar that we have," Ambassador Chimbindi said.

The two countries should always support each other, and not fight.

"It therefore comes naturally that both our individual countries' interests will, for all intents and purposes, lead us to some common understanding of issues under discussions today (yesterday)," Ambassador Chimbindi said.

In his remarks, Zambian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Derrick Livune, who leads the Zambian delegation, said the meeting was meant to revive earlier agreements that had not been implemented.

"The last JTCC between our countries was held in 2017. During the meeting, a number of issues were agreed upon, some of which have not been actualised due to lack of meetings. The committee has therefore been revived due to a number of non-tariff barriers that have been reported by both countries, which are hampering the smooth flow of trade and increasing the cost of doing business," Ambassador Livune said.

The issues to be discussed include updates on an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation and the tripartite memorandum of understanding between Zimtrade, Zimbabwe Development Agency and the Zambia Development Agency.

"The strong bilateral relations between our two countries are based on friendship, common cultural values and shared history. An issue of concern, we must highlight, is that trade between our two countries has been affected by some recurring barriers to trade.

"These include delayed border procedures to clear our traders, which ultimately hinders the ease of doing business between our two countries. These hindrances are being experienced on both sides of the border and we have therefore been directed to resolve these challenges with a view to facilitating the smooth flow of goods across the border," Ambassador Livune said.

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