Exporters urged to register under trade agreements

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ZIMTRADE, Zimbabwe’s export development and promotion agency, is urging exporters to register under bilateral and multi-lateral trade agreements with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) for easy access to markets.

The country has bilateral trade agreements with South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana and Namibia as well as multi-lateral trade partnership including agreements with Sadc, Comesa and the European Union (EU) to ease export business for local companies.

Trade agreements are made to improve trade between signatory countries, by for example, removing customs duty and other cumbersome restrictions.

However, some, exporters have been going through a plethora of challenges such as delays, heavy taxes, among others threatening viability.

In its latest Trading Post update, Zimtrade said these challenges could be addressed as exporters take advantage of the trade agreements that offer preferential treatment at local border posts.

“To reduce such incidents exporters are encouraged to take advantage of the different trade agreements available for them to reduce their costs and ease their export processes.

“By registering under trade agreements, local exporters get access to preferential treatment in areas such as customs duties and relaxation of quantitative restrictions.

 “A reduction of the duty can give the exporter a substantial advantage in terms of cost over competitors from countries that do not have similar trade agreements. Exporters should be able to use this advantage as a marketing strategy to give their products a competitive price incentive in other markets.

“Advantages for Zimbabwean exporters who register under these trade agreements include favourable import prices in the signatory countries over competitors from a third country,” said Zimtrade.

Meanwhile, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) agreement during the African Union (AU) Extraordinary Session of Heads of State and Government.

The landmark agreement brings together all the 55 countries to participate in a market of over 1,2 billion people by removing tariffs on up to 90 percent of exports to foster more trade among countries on the continent.

South Africa’s chief negotiator at AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene, was installed as the new secretary-general of the AfCFTA.

According to the AU’s timeline, tariffs must be liberalised no later than July 2020 to mark the beginning of free trade on that same date.

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