Zim implements trade facility

HARARE - Government has started implementing the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) trade related facility (TRF) project to boost exports and improve the safety and quality of imports.

The specific objective of the project is to promote the use of quality and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) infrastructure to improve the competitiveness and access of Zimbabwe’s export products and services in local, regional and international markets.

Industry ministry permanent secretary Abigail Shonhiwa said the facility, which is funded by a 1,4 million euro facility from the European Union commission, will run until September 2019.

“The TFR support will be used to strengthen the national quality infrastructure towards the full implementation of technical barriers to trade (TBT) and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) agreements,” she said.

“The national quality infrastructure and SPS environment in Zimbabwe is key to the country’s implementation of commitments under the World Trade Organisation TBT and SPS of the Sadc protocol on trade.”

In February, Industry minister  Mike Bimha said government was working with the private sector to craft an export strategy which will go a long way in generating foreign currency, noting that the strategy would revamp the economy.

“Plans to finalise the National Export Strategy are now at an advanced stage through cordial work being undertaken by government, ZimTrade and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. Emphasis has been placed on the strategy after realising that the much-needed foreign currency is generated through exports,” he said.

He pointed out that the current industrial policy was already export-led hence the initiative would broaden the scope of foreign currency generating sectors.

“Of late the private sector has been crying foul over foreign currency shortages and the tendency has been to look up to the RBZ to avail forex, yet the potential to solve the problem lies in exports. Currently, our major earners are tobacco and gold but the strategy will find ways to bring in other sectors like manufacturing in order to increase the number of players,” he said.

Industry has also been working on a National Export Strategy document aimed at improving and increasing the country’s exports to bolster the country’s balance of trade.

Bimha said he appreciated the private sector’s efforts, noting that the two strategies would complement each other.

— The Financial Gazette

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