Zim, Japan mull Joint Permanent Commission
Yokohama, Japan (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe and Japan are considering establishing a bilateral commission to explore ways to deepen trade and economic relations between the two countries, a cabinet minister said on Thursday.
The decision came out of a meeting between Foreign Affairs and
International Trade Minister, Dr Sibusiso Moyo and his Japanese
counterpart, Tarō Kōno on the sidelines of the on-going seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (Ticad).
Trade between the two countries is currently heavily skewed in favour of Japan.
“We agreed that our political relations are excellent but our economic diplomacy is not up to date and therefore it was critical that we had to consider the establishment of a Joint Permanent Commission (on Cooperation, (JPCC) between the two countries so that we can then micro-focus on requirements between the two countries,” Dr Moyo told reporters after the meeting.
A JPCC is a government platform which is co-chaired by the two countries foreign affairs ministers and is rotationally hosted on agreed timeframes.
Its main function is to give the two governments a stage fromn which to tackle various issues of mutual interest. Japan and Zimbabwe have enjoyed diplomatic relations for nearly four decades during which the Asian nation, which has the third largest economy in the world, invested nearly US$1 billion in the country.
At the peak of relations, more than 30 Japanese companies operated in Zimbabwe but the number has since fallen to two. President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is also attending Ticad, has appealed to Japanese companies to explore abundant investment opportunities in Zimbabwe, stressing that government has instituted various reforms aimed at making the business environment fertile for investors.
Meanwhile, the Japanese government pledged nearly US$5 million support of Zimbabwe’s health sector and food security.
Dr Moyo said Japan will provide US$2.7 million in hospital equipment for Harare Hospital while US$2 million will be in the form of food assistance that will be channelled through the World Food Programme.
The assistance from Japan follows an international appeal that Zimbabwe made early this month following last season’s drought.