Call to continuously provide industry with vital information on trade agreements

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Bulawayo (New Ziana)-There is need to continuously avail vital information to industry on the trade agreements that the country is a signatory to, for players to strategically position themselves and utilise the opportunities that they provide, an official has said.

Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Judith Ncube, said this while addressing participants to the Zimbabwe National Trade Tariffs Conference held at a local venue.

The two-day conference is being held to sensitise industry on the existing bilateral, regional and multilateral trade agreements that the country has entered into.

It also being used to fill the gap the Tariffs and Competition Commission identified during the course of executing its mandate and for the benefit of industrialists.

“The continuous capacitation of the industry with vital information in trade agreements that Zimbabwe is signatory to, is of paramount importance. It aids in positioning the country and local industry on an advantageous position and utilise the trade agreement platforms availed by Government,” Ncube said.

Zimbabwe is currently a signatory to several trade agreements at regional and multilateral levels such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Ncube said to maximise benefits from the agreements, it was critical for local industry to be familiar with their dictates including tariff issues, unfair trade practices, rules of origin, standards, export opportunities, trade facilitation, resource mobilisation, threats and mitigatory measures available.

She urged industrialists and other stakeholders to keep abreast of developments in the bilateral, regional and international trade arrangements in line with the national guiding policies such as the National Industrial Development Policy, National Development Strategy (NDS1) and Vision 2030.

Trade, she explained, had become important to Zimbabwe as it intended to realise the aspirations of its vision of attaining an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

Meanwhile, Ncube said through the Competition and Tariff Commission, the government was developing a National Trade Tariffs Policy aimed at building fully integrated value chains as well as a competitive and productive industrial sector to anchor domestic and international trade.

She said the policy would look at how products were categorised in the various trade agreements that the country was a signatory to, and the phase down of tariffs in the process of liberalisation.

“Considerable progress has been made and in the very near future, the policy will be availed for validation before adoption,” she said.

The policy would also look at potential benefits and export opportunities for local industries as well as potential unfair trade practices that might negatively affect them post trade liberalisation, and ways to remedy them, she explained.

New Ziana

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