Trade promotion body ZimTrade and the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) on Thursday signed a second Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that focuses on increasing the level of the quality of products that the country exports as part of initiatives the Government is pursuing to improve the ease of doing business.
The previous MOU which was signed on December 14, 2011 provided numerous business and economic gains for Zimbabwe.
The updated MoU comes at a crucial time when the country launched the Rapid Results Program in 2016 aimed at facilitating increase of value added exports to generate the much needed foreign currency.
Speaking at the signing ceremony held in the capital, ZimTrade chief executive officer Sithembile Pilime said the role of standards in facilitating world trade could never be over-emphasised.
“Standards are an important instrument in enterprises to integrate into global value chains. In horticulture for example, increases in the overall level of compliance with quality can improve productivity, yield and revenues from agricultural produce and exports.
“Also, when farming practices and systems are similar to those in targeted export markets, through conformance to standards-related requirements, there is a higher likelihood of integrating into international supply chains and attracting foreign direct investment (FDI),” she said.
Ms Pilime said good domestic standardisation architecture and awareness was important for the growth of exports in the country.
“By providing the platform on which ZimTrade and SAZ can collaborate and work together, the implementation of the MoU will benefit both the private and public sector,” she said.
This year marks an important World Trade Organisation Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) which entered into force on February 22 this year and looks at how procedures and
controls governing the movement of goods across the borders can be improved to reduce costs
and maximise efficiency while safeguarding regulatory objectives.
Also speaking at the same occasion, SAZ director general Dr Eve Gadzikwa said such agreements could not be effective in the absence of a “robust” standards and trade promotion and development organisation.
“SAZ and ZimTrade therefore are central in facilitating trade and this MoU recognises these important issues as part of the ease of doing business
across borders initiative for Zimbabwe.
“In this regard, the SAZ in conjunction with ZimTrade as part of this MoU, has agreed to come up with programmes that will ensure that export products are easily acceptable in international markets and this should be achieved through certification to standards,” she said.
The MoU is expected to enhance communication between the two organisations, intensify collaboration on related work efforts, leading to enhanced competitiveness of the manufacturing and horticultural sectors. — New Ziana.