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Zimbabwe, Malawi sign bilateral trade agreement

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ZIMBABWE and Malawi on Monday signed bilateral trade agreement in order boost trade between the two countries.

Speaking during the event held at Umodzi Park in the Malawi capital city Lilongwe, Malawi Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe said the agreement follows up to another agreement which the two countries signed in 1995.

At the ceremony, spiced by exhibitions fro 20 Zimbabwe companies, the country’s High Commissioner to Malawi, Dr Nancy Saungweme commended Malawi Government for accepting to re-sign the trade agreement.

Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe
She said with the agreements in place, Zimbabwean companies can export directly to Malawian companies using distributorship and agents.

She encouraged companies to partner with local distributors in Zimbabwe for the benefit of market information trends and consumer buying patterns.

She said Zimbabwean companies can now open companies in Malawi and participate in tender bids, adding that there is need to focus on projects that are in line with the priorities of the governments of the two countries.

The main trade between Zimbabwe and Malawi as of 2019 include corrugated paperboard; cement; iron and steel structures; packing containers of paper, paperboard, cellulose wadding or webs of cellulose fibres; rough wood; agrochemicals, seeds, maize and fish.

Zimtrade promotion office has organised trade exhibition targeting strategic potential markets that are worth considering for business partnerships.

ZimTrade has facilitated its 20 local companies to participate at the Malawi Solo Exhibition for the first time which is being held under the theme ‘Zimbabwe-Malawi Trade Exhibition: Kulimbikitsa Ubale Pamalonda’.

Malawi and Zimbabwe are both members of COMESA and SADC regional economic blocs, meaning that local exporters registered under trading agreements and awarded originating status under either or both blocs can export duty-free and quota-free from Zimbabwe to Malawi.

Zimbabwe and Malawi also share a preferential bilateral trading agreement implemented in 1995, with 25% domestic value-added requirement and exporters can take advantage of this.

Currently, Malawi is experiencing stable growth and this now an opportune time for exporters to engage more with Zimbabwe as the country’s socio-cultural landscape is relatively similar to that of Zimbabwe.

Consumer preferences, purchasing habits and buying trends are also compatible and Zimbabwean exporters are, therefore, likely to find it easy to adapt to the Malawian market.

Zimbabwe’s imports from Malawi include soya-bean by-products, unmanufactured tobacco, soya beans, groundnuts, maize, fibreboard, manufactured tobacco and plastic household articles.

According to the Trade Map, the current status is that Malawi’s principal export markets are Belgium, Germany, Russia, South Africa, United States of America, Ukraine, Poland, Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom. ■

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