Farirai Machivenyika-Senior Reporter
Zimbabwean companies have been urged to take advantage of regional and continental trade agreements to market their products and pursue investment opportunities.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Frederick Shava said this after Friday’s meeting of the Sadc Committee of Ministers of Trade and the Ministerial Taskforce on Regional and Economic Integration held virtually.
Zimbabwe has ratified the Common Market for East and Southern Africa-East African Community and Sadc Tripartite Agreement (TFTA).
The country has also signed and ratified the agreement establishing the Free Trade Area and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
“This is in line with the African Union(’s) Agenda 2063 programme which also includes the programme for Accelerated Industrial Development, Programme for Infrastructure Development and Boosting Inter-Africa Trade,” he said.
“These agreements create opportunities for Zimbabwean companies in terms of market for products and investment opportunities.
“There are opportunities for value chains to service regional, continental and global market. It is also an opportunity to attract Foreign Direct Investment.”
Minister Shava added that Zimbabwe was implementing tariff liberalisation to open up the economy and trade with other SADC member States, but had applied for relaxation to be exempted from implementing tariff reductions on a number of products due to challenges being faced by local industries.
The meeting also discussed a framework for implementation of the Simplified Trading Regime, which facilitates cross-border traders between SADC member States for an approved list of products. The programme will be implemented voluntarily on a bilateral basis between two agreeing member States.
The meeting also noted the impact of Covid-19 on regional trade and ongoing responses by member States.
Minister Shava urged other countries to ratify the Sadc Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap, which envisages the creation of regional value chains.