Zim, Malawi sign revised trade pact
Industry and International Trade Minister, Obert Mpofu, and Malawi’s Industry, Trade and Private Sector Development Minster, Ken Lipenga, signed the agreement of behalf of their respective governments.
Before the signing, trade between the two countries was governed by a Bilateral Preferential Trade Agreement that came into force in 1995.
In the period between 2001 and last year, trade between the countries grew by about 100 percent from US$14,7 million to US$29,5 million.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mpofu said the negotiations for the amendments started six years ago and involved consultations from various sectors of industry.
“The amendments to the existing trade agreements are basically aimed at smoothening the flow and broadening the scope of bilateral trade between Zimbabwe and Malawi,” he said.
Zimbabwe had last week posted a trade promotion officer to Malawi in a bid to broaden bilateral economic co-operation, the minister said.
Applauding the amendments, Minister Lipenga said enhancement of trade and private sector development were the gateway to the attainment of economic growth and development.
The revised agreement would promote two-way trade between the neighbouring countries as it has been biased in favour of Zimbabwe, he said.
Zimbabwe is Malawi’s largest export market after South Africa.
“As a way of further enhancing the economic and commercial links between Malawi and Zimbabwe, there is need to promote two-way trade and investment through encouragement of joint ventures, undertaking periodic trade missions and participating in each others national trade fairs,” Lipenga said.
Increasing co-operation, interaction and general information sharing between chambers of commerce and trade promotion bodies was also necessary for enhancing trade.
The minister called on customs authorities in the two countries to guard against unscrupulous dealers who might try to abuse the agreement.
The revised trade agreement provides friendly and simplified rules of origin and brings in safeguard mechanisms for sensitive products as well as addressing the problem areas such as shipment of goods and non-tariff barriers.’ New Ziana.