Zim ready to expand EU trade relations Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador Albert Chimbindi

Farirai Machivenyika

Senior Reporter

ZIMBABWE stands ready to expand trade relations with the European Union in line with its open for business mantra, the Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador Albert Chimbindi, has said.

On Tuesday, Amb Chimbindi met the director-general of the EU External Action Service Ambassador Rita Laranjinha on the sidelines of the EU-Sadc Ministerial Meeting in Luanda, Angola.

“Zimbabwe is open for business and we’ve been emphasising to the EU that they are free to come to Zimbabwe and do business in Zimbabwe, that we have to broaden the discussions that we have with them to go beyond the issues that they’ve been emphasising ever since, and that Zimbabwe is ready to work with them. We had a very useful and long meeting, I think a very frank discussion on the relationship between the EU and Zimbabwe.”

Amb Laranjinha acknowledged the ongoing trade negotiations between the EU and Zimbabwe and the progress made so far, as well as where the two are heading.

“We know that there are ongoing negotiations between the EU and Zimbabwe on trade matters, and I think that we’ve made good progress in that regard on the understanding where we can continue to take these negotiations forward. That would be very, very important.

“We also discussed a number of issues that have to do with the relationship between Zimbabwe and the EU. We have very active embassies, both in Harare and in Brussels, doing common work together, but it’s very important that we take the occasion of these events to also meet at our level and to exchange directly to understand each other better on a number of issues of common interest,” she said.

Amb Laranjinha said trade between the two parties should grow both ways.

“It’s very important to underline that these relationships have to grow not only the exports from the EU to Zimbabwe, but on the contrary, the exports from Zimbabwe to the EU.

“That’s what we are aiming at, that we have a solid relationship and a relationship where we can have an equilibrium and that the interests of both parties are well preserved and well taken care of,” Amb Laranjinha said.

The trade volume between Zimbabwe and the EU stands at US$700 million a year with Zimbabwe enjoying a positive trade balance.

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