National Trade Tariff Indaba kicks off
Sikhulekelani Moyo, business journalist
THE National Trade Tariffs Conference kicks off today in Bulawayo with the aim of unpacking Zimbabwe’s trade deals and the benefits it brings to local businesses.
The conference is organized by the Zimbabwe Competition Tariff Commission (CTC) and would help local industry players appreciate the trade deals and how they can take advantage of the opportunities available.
According to a preliminary update of the event, keynote speakers will be drawn from regional and international organizations such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the Center for Commercial Law, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, the Business Association of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and the Confederation of Zimbabwe. Industries.
Industry and Trade Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza is expected to officially open the conference tomorrow, while Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Decentralization Minister Judith Ncube and the UK Ambassador to Zimbabwe will honor also the event.
Zimbabwe is a signatory to several trade agreements at regional and multilateral levels. These include agreements concluded within the framework of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), economic partnership agreements between the European Union and Eastern and Southern Africa, UK-East and Southern Africa Economic Partnership Agreements (UK-ESA EPA), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the recent African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“To maximize the benefits of these agreements, it is essential that local industry is made aware of their dictates, including tariff issues, unfair trade practices, rules of origin, standards, export opportunities, facilitation, potential benefits of resource mobilization, threats and available mitigation measures,” the commission said.
The conference is envisioned to help local industry and commerce to exploit the resulting opportunities, future production planning and future investment needs arising therefrom.
The CLC said the country could derive maximum benefits from trade agreements and receive information on available export opportunities, in line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
“NDS1 outlines the country’s strategies, policies, legal and institutional reforms and the programs and projects that will be implemented over the five-year period, to achieve the country’s Vision 2030,” he said. .
“In line with the objectives of NDS1 and ensuring that local industry benefits from existing trade agreements, the conference is organized to inform industry of the existing trade agreements to which Zimbabwe is a party and how best to leverage them for the benefit from the country”.
The Commission said it received complaints from Bulawayo-based companies at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) who said they were unaware of the treaties and could not exploit them.
They also stated that they did not know the competent institutions that deal with various issues related to the implementation of trade agreements.
As part of the conference objectives, CTC said it will sensitize local industry on existing trade agreements, product categorization and phasing of tariff liberalization under Sadc, Comesa, EU-ESA EPA, UK-ESA EPA and AfCFTA.
The CTC is a statutory body under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and established under the Competition Act (Chapter 14:28). Its mandate is to promote and maintain fair competition and business practices in Zimbabwe. It administers competition policy and legislation and trade tariff policies in the country. — @SikhulekelaniM1