Zimbabwe and South Africa have agreed to appoint a focal person from the region to constantly review the effects of Statutory Instrument 64 and other bilateral trade issues. The expert will propose measures to address areas of concern.The pact was one of several agreements reached during the inaugural Zimbabwe-South Africa Bi-National Commission, which was witnessed by President Mugabe and his South African counterpart President Jacob Zuma. In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha said the agreement would result in fairer trade.
“We agreed on a number of issues that were of concern to them and also issues that were of concern to us,” he said. “On their part, they were concerned about SI 64 and also other measures where we have applied duty to certain goods.
“They have 112 products which they have prioritised for Zimbabwe to consider not to apply duty on. Our position recognised that we have a good basis for such measures and that we have made this position clear in South Africa and at Sadc level meetings. “Sadc, in turn, has acceded to our request to have an expert. The expert will help to put up the technical work for justification of the measures.”
Minister Bimha said Zimbabwe raised objections to South Africa’s ban on importation of pharmaceutical products by road.
“On our part, the issue was that of pharmaceuticals which are required to be airlifted to South Africa because of the ban on transportation of such products by road. Our complaint was that pharmaceutical products from South Africa are allowed into Zimbabwe by road so we feel that is not fair that we are not granted similar access.”
South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said the two countries would continue talks on areas of conflict.
“We understand of course that the Zimbabwean economy is facing challenges and that resulted in, among other things, Statutory Instrument 64 (of 2016),” he said. “We are in a process of trying to resolve a few issues between us and those issues include the fact that we believe, and I think the Zimbabwe colleagues agree, that any measure which is a deviation from the Sadc Trade Protocol has to be taken to the Sadc Trade Ministers Council for Ministers of Trade derogation.
“That is what we agreed at the last meeting which we had and it was also agreed that Sadc will provide technical assistance to Zimbabwe. We will be going for a further meeting round about March next year.”
Minister Bimha said the two countries agreed on the creation of a one-stop border post facility in Beitbridge. He said: “We have also agreed to set up a trade investment committee to help trade issues between the two countries. We pledged to work together in implementing the Sadc Industrialisation strategy and also pursue regional value chains.”
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