Trade promotion body, Zimtrade said yesterday South Africa must increase access to its markets by Zimbabwean companies to improve trade between the two neighbouring countries. Zimtrade chief executive Sithembile Pilime told participants at the Zimbabwe-South Africa trade and investment conference that this should be done to realise a fair trade balance.At present, the trade balance is heavily skewed in South Africa’s favour.
In 2012 South Africa enacted the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act which stipulates that 75 percent of procurement should be local in an effort to protect South African manufacturers.
The measure by South Africa, which is Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner, has severely impacted on local firms which are struggling to recover from a decade long economic meltdown.
In response, Zimbabwe introduced duty on certain products originating from South Africa, but this has done little to curb the influx of goods from across the Limpopo.
Ms Pilime said: “There is also a need for South Africa to open its market to competitive, value added Zimbabwean products such as clothing, footwear and furniture, among others,” she said.
“We need to grow our exports and our countries’ companies can work together through partnerships, joint ventures and investments in the value addition of our numerous resources.”
To promote trade between Harare and Pretoria, Ms Pilime said Zimtrade would facilitate participation of Zimbabwean companies at two trade events in South Africa.
She said it was also imperative to review the rules of origin under the SADC Trade Protocol, in particular, the double transformation requirements.
The SADC Trade Protocol provides that member states shall, in relation to intra-Sadc trade, adopt policies and implement measures to eliminate all existing forms of Non-Tariff Barriers and refrain from imposing any new barriers.
According to ZimStat, in 2015, total trade between Zimbabwe and South Africa amounted to $4,2 billion, accounting for 48 percent of Zimbabwe’s overall trade during that year. – New Ziana.