Foreign business teams at CZI congress

Source: Foreign business teams at CZI congress | The Herald June 28, 2017

Conrad Mwanawashe and Michael Tome
MORE than 20 business delegates from European and Asian countries are expected in the country in the next two months to seek investment opportunities and to establish networks with local businesses.

The businesspersons representing major companies from countries such as Turkey and India will be in the country early August for the CZI annual congress where they are expected to seal business deals with local manufacturers.

“We have two countries that will be attending, that is Turkey and India. “There will be about 20 foreign delegates coming from these two countries so there will be opportunities for business-to-business meetings for those that will be looking for investment,” said Sifelani Jabangwe, president of CZI.

CZI will hold the congress from August 2-4 in Victoria Falls where issues to do with import substitution, local content regulations and other issues relating to trade. The annual congress will run under the theme; “Manufacturing, Competitiveness, Realities and Realignment.

Mr Jabangwe was giving opening remarks at the CZI and Common Market for East and Southern Africa stakeholder workshop on the Comesa Customs Union and other Comesa Trade Programmes yesterday. Zimbabwe is a founder Member of the Comesa Free Trade Area which was established in October 2000. Zimbabwe is also participating in the Comesa-EAC-Sadc Tripartite negotiations which are aimed at harmonising trade regimes, free movement of business persons, joint implementation of regional infrastructure projects and programmes, and legal and institutional arrangements for regional cooperation within the three Regional Economic Communities (RECs).

Zimbabwe is among the 17 Member/Partner States that signed the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) Agreement in June 2015. The Agreement will enter into force upon ratification by 14 Member/Partner States.

Zimbabwe is also participating in the Africa Union’s project to fast-track the establishment of a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) which is aimed at Boosting Intra-Africa Trade (BIAT). In a speech read on her behalf at the same workshop, secretary for Industry and Commerce Abigail Shonhiwa said Zimbabwe is implementing Comesa programmes such as the Regional Integration Support Mechanism, harmonisation of statistics, hamonisation of standards, trade in services, peace and security, infrastructure development and the Simplified Trade Regime (STR), among others.

“At the national level, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce is responsible for coordination of all Comesa programmes. While there are market opportunities in Comesa, the economy is currently facing low capacity utilization and liquidity challenges which are affecting industrial output and competitiveness hence the failure to fully utilize the current preferences of 100 percent Duty-Free-Quota-Free (DFQF) under Comesa Free Trade Area (FTA),” she said.