Zim, Zambia renew trade efforts Zimbabwe Trade Customs Meeting head of delegation, Ambassador Rofina Chikava (right), addresses delegates while flanked by Zambian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Derrick Livune, at a hotel in Harare yesterday. — Picture: Edward Zvemisha

Farirai Machivenyika-Senior Reporter

THE 4th Joint Trade and Customs Commission between Zimbabwe and Zambia ended yesterday with the two countries emphasising the importance of trade between Harare and Lusaka.

The meeting was the first to be convened in the past four years with chief director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador Rofina Chikava, who was standing in for Permanent Secretary Ambassador Albert Chimbindi, commending the two countries for resolving issues affecting trade despite going for a long period without meeting.

“It is very important to note that it was not easy for us to be able to discuss amicably after a span of four years without meeting, but due to our commitment we were able to resolve most of the issues which were outstanding.

“The long period of inactivity of the JTCC has witnessed de-escalated growth in total trade between our two countries due to the existence of trade barriers and other trade-related issues.

“Needless to say, the JTCC provided a critical platform for us to address some key issues that have become impediments to the growth of trade between our two countries.

“It is important to note that the two delegations, despite all these challenges, took it upon themselves to make sure that today we witness a signing ceremony of agreed minutes.

“What it meant is that all the sides were committed to achieve something and I want to thank the two delegations,” she said.

Ambassador Chikava said it was important that both countries stuck to the timelines they had set themselves in the agreed minutes they signed yesterday.

“We don’t want the impasse which happened four years before meeting because without trade, our countries will not develop. So, I want to urge all – Zimbabwe side, Zambia side, the officers here, please let’s make sure that we follow up on everything we have agreed,” she said.

Zambia’s deputy ambassador to Zimbabwe, Ms Nabulanga Ntalasha, echoed similar sentiments saying it was important for the two countries to implement what they had agreed on.

“It is therefore incumbent upon our two sister countries to ensure that these agreed minutes are implemented steadfastly. The Republic of Zambia and the Republic of Zimbabwe have continued to enjoy cordial relations.

“Our two Heads of State, His Excellency Hakainde Hichilema, President of the Republic of Zambia, and His Excellency, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, have met on various occasions and thoroughly discussed these challenges at our borders.

“It is therefore imperative that we resolve the challenges we are facing. We should, therefore, commit to the implementation of actions we have agreed upon for ourselves,” she said.

Some of the challenges impeding trade were from delays of the Chirundu One Stop Border Post, the Comesa Simplified Trade Regime, a mechanism to benefit small-scale cross-border traders and the implementation of Memoranda of Understanding on cooperation between SMEs.

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