South Africa's Trade Department Says Engaging Zim On Import Ban

Johannesburg – The adverse impact on South African exporters due to trade restrictive measures introduced by the government of Zimbabwe cannot be underestimated, the SA Department of Trade and Industry (dti) said on Sunday afternoon.

The dti said it continues to be responsive to affected exporters and to make representations to the government of Zimbabwe.

The dti said it noted with concern the range of trade restrictive measures that the government of Zimbabwe has introduced. These measures include import bans, surcharges, increases in import duties, requirements for import permits and other forms of restrictions that have negative implications on intra-regional trade, according to the dti.

The position of the government of Zimbabwe is that these trade restrictions are necessary to support the development of local industries and to relieve the pressure of economic sanctions, which have led to balance of payments challenges.

The recent ban of imports or requirements for import permits relate to a number of products such as cosmetics, cereals, coffee creamer, mayonnaise, cheese, canned fruits and vegetables, second hand tyres, iron and steel products, furniture and woven cotton fabrics.

The dti said that at the recent meeting of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Committee of Trade Ministers, South Africa and Zimbabwe were requested to report to SADC on the implications of these measures for the coherence of the SADC Trade Protocol.

“On behalf of the South African government, Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies has been engaging the Zimbabwean government bilaterally and through the SADC structures to find an amicable solution that is in accordance with Zimbabwe’s obligations of the SADC Protocol on Trade, while at the same time being sensitive to Zimbabwe’s industrial development and balance of payments challenges,” the dti said in a statement.