South Africa gives Zimbabwe three week deadline over imports ban

Source: South Africa gives Zimbabwe three week deadline over imports ban | The Financial Gazette August 6, 2016

SOUTH Africa says it has given Zimbabwe three weeks to roll back a ban imposed on imports from that country ahead of a meeting of regional ministers later this month.

This follows a meeting between Zimbabwe’s minister of Industry and Trade, Mike Bimha and his South African counterpart, Rob Davies in Pretoria on Thursday.

On June 20, Zimbabwe banned the import of hundreds of items from its southern neighbour to reign in its ballooning trade deficit — $3,3 billion in 2015 — to and shore up local manufacturers.

The list included furniture, baked beans, potato crisps, cereals, bottled water, mayonnaise, salad cream, peanut butter, jams, maheu, canned fruits and vegetables, pizza base, yoghurts, flavoured milks, dairy juice blends, ice-creams, cultured milk and cheese.

The ban has been widely criticized, and sparked demonstrations and the burning down of a government warehouse in Beitbridge, a border town leading into South Africa.

But Davies told South African media on Friday that Zimbabwe should have followed a process under the Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocol that sets out procedural requirements before cutting trade ties.

The SADC protocol, which regulates interstate trade, allows a member country to adopt protection measures if it demonstrates that its industries are under distress.

“Should there be any variation in the application under those commitments, there should be an application to the council of the ministers of trade,” said Davies in a report by Timeslive.

South Africa is Zimbabwe’s largest trade partner, accounting for about 70 percent of imported goods in the southern African country and over 60 percent of its total trade, official figures show.

The two countries have to resolve the impasse before a meeting of SADC trade ministers in Botswana on August 24.

Bimha, who addressed journalists in Harare on Friday morning, said South Africa had asked Zimbabwe to lower import duty and surtax levied on o112 products imported from that country.

“There are number of products on which we have applied duty and surtax so in our recent meeting they (South Africa) submitted a list of 112 products that they say they would want us to consider in terms of duty and surtax and we told them that we should be able to make a response in 2 weeks’ time,” he said.

Bimha said government’s decision to control imports through Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 would allow to resuscitate the country’s ailing manufacturing sector.

“We need to give breathing space to our manufacturing sector to give them time to retool, reequip hence the measures that were taken. Where we see gaps in demand and supply, we are allowing our business people to import and we also allow individuals to import items for personal consumption.” – The Source


  • comment-avatar
    spiralx 6 years ago

    How exactly does this “resuscitate” a manufacturing sector already on life support?

    Because we’re looking at 36 years of wrong thinking (if you can call it thinking). Destruction of local raw products by decimating the commercial farming sector. Decimation of the local monetary system by outright theft and wholesale greed. Utter lack of forward planning ( it was known at least 6 years before it happened, that power output was going to be insufficient to meet growing demand – for example). An utter lack of industrial underatanding, that has led to outmoded machinery, lack of decent transport infrastructure, and now an “indigenisation” law that simply submerges any practical possibility under political rhetoric.

    There is simply hardly anything left of any Zimbabwean manufacturing sector, as a result. Certainly not enough to even begin to fill any import gap generated by SI 64.

  • comment-avatar
    Joe Cool 6 years ago

    It has to be the height of stupidity to ban imports whilst the manufacturing sector is ‘re-tooling and re-equipping’.

    The sensible time would be to ban imports ONCE THEY HAVE FINISHED RE-TOOLING AND RE-EQUIPPING.

    Didn’t think of that Mike?

    • comment-avatar
      Kevin 6 years ago

      No he didn’t think at all. He was simply given an instruction and executed it. The so called thinkers having destroyed the economy and infrastructure in an effort to avoid the consequences of their criminal actions, didn’t think at all.

  • comment-avatar
    Tinomunamataishe 6 years ago

    I am just waiting to see what will happen. It looks like someone will end up with an egg on their face.

  • comment-avatar
    SVINURAYI 6 years ago

    Kana ZANU pf iri pachigaro I bet hapana chinofa chaka budirira hazviite. Think of Zimbabwe ZANU pf found in place is there any semblance with what we see today!!! Total failure. Remove ZANU pf today miracles will happen in a year prosperity will reign. Keep it on death and hunger rule day in and day out