via ‘EU ready to review trade agreement with Zim’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 10, 2014
ZIMBABWE will soon benefit from the Cotonou Trade Agreement as the European Union (EU) considers reviewing the country’s situation at it November meeting, Sapes Trust director Ibbo Mandaza has said.
“In line with the reinforcement of engagement EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia told the conference that the bloc was ready to review its position on Zimbabwe in the Cotonou Trade Agreement at its next meeting penciled for November this year,” Mandaza said in an interview after Sapes in conjunction with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) hosted a two-day conference.
The conference was entitled: Zimbabwe Going Forward: Consolidating the Democratisation Process and Reinforcing Re-engagement with the Global Community.
Zimbabwe for the past decade has not been able to trade preferentially with EU after the bloc invoked article 96 as to pressurise the country to implement political reforms after the disputed and bloody 2002 Presidential elections.
The Harare conference was attended by 21 ambassadors, seven government ministries, 12 Zimbabweans from the Diaspora, 76 local organisations, 153 participants and major political parties in the country.
“We had 14 ambassadors from the fishmonger group and BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] members that showed the international community readiness to reinforce reengagement with Zimbabwe,” Mandaza said.
He said Zimbabwe was reminded of the policy changes it should make if it wanted full reintegration and to spur economic growth.
“The country should move on to implement the legal changes imposed on it by the new constitution, clarify its position on Indigenisation, cut the red tape on foreign investment approval and to prioritise normalisation of relations with the international community,” said Mandaza.
“Fired” MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti told the conference that the Zanu PF government should acknowledge its mistakes and embrace dialogue to take the country out of the current economic and political quagmire.
“The Zanu PF regime must accept failure, must apologise to the people and call for national dialogue inclusive of labour and business,” Biti said.
“The current government must engage with everyone including the international community.”
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa told the conference that Zimbabwe was ready to reengage with the international community and relook the Indigenisation policy.
“We are not taking 51% of anyone’s money. There is no one size fits it all,” he said in reference to the country’s indigenisation laws.