Retailers lobby for imported clothes ban

Source: Retailers lobby for imported clothes ban | The Herald  May 3, 2016

Martin Kadzere Senior Business Reporter
LOCAL clothing retailers are lobbying Government to impose a ban on finished clothes, saying the influx of imports, mainly from Asian countries were hurting their operations.

Industry players told The Herald Business they were facing unfair competition from imported products mainly from China and Dubai. Retailers such as Edgars and Power Sales are also importing and this has to some extent caused a degree of tension in the industry.

“The local industry has suffered a serious downturn and many companies have been driven out of business due to the influx of cheaper products from Asia. The companies cannot compete because their cost structures are making their products very expensive. As a result, the Zimbabwe Clothing Manufactures Associations is lobbying Government to ban imports for them to be viable,” said one source.

Analysts however say with the domestic textile industry facing challenges, cheap imports will continue finding their way into the local market. ZCMA Mr Jeremy Youmans could not be reached for a comment as he was said to be out of the country.

In June last year, Government banned the importation of second hand clothes and shoes, as part of economy wide measures to facilitate the recovery of domestic industry. However, second hand clothes continue finding their way into the country.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the emergence of vending of cheap, low quality and smuggled imports were choking both producers and retailers. Some clothing industry players however said the ban on imports will only encourage smuggling and Government should instead, impose appropriate duties.

“Our borders are very porous and banning importation of clothes will only encourage smuggling.”

Zimbabwe is spending millions of dollars on importing clothes. At its peak, the industry employed 35 000 but now only boasts a small complement of less than of 5 000 workers, according to reports.