SADC: Take Heed of SADC Trade Protocols, Exporters Urged

The Herald Harare
Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com

Zimbabwean exporters are advised to be aware of the regulations and procedures governing the registration and eligibility of preferential trading under the SADC Trade Protocol.The protocol allows specific tariff benefits (zero/reduced duty rates) on qualifying goods traded between SADC countries.

SADC member states that are implementing the Trade Protocol are: Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Out of a total export bill of $2,7 billion in 2015, 92 percent of Zimbabwe’s exports were destined for the SADC region, which had a total import bill of $166 billion. Zimbabwe can significantly increase its market share in the regional bloc if producers and exporters take full advantage of the provisions of the Protocol.

Producers and exporters need to be aware of the SADC rules of origin and register qualifying goods with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) so as to benefit from the preferential treatment offered by the protocol.

Importers/buyers in other countries are more likely to trade with Zimbabwean producers/exporters who are registered and can obtain a certificate of origin on qualifying goods, to allow them access to preferential rates of duty. It is advisable for potential exporters to go through the registration process in advance to avoid delays when they start exporting.

Zimbabwe companies that import goods from SADC countries can also benefit from zero/reduced duty. If the imports are raw materials or intermediate goods for further processing, the cost of production becomes lower.

The SADC rules of origin criteria generally requires that goods be wholly produced/obtained (e.g. agricultural or mineral goods) or have undergone sufficient transformation in the manufacturing process (i.e. change in tariff heading, percentage rule as well as the double transformation for textiles and clothing).

Goods should be consigned directly from a Member State to a consignee in another Member State.

Specific advice on the SADC Trade Protocol and Rules of Origin is available at ZIMRA.

The SADC Certificate of Origin forms can be obtained from ZimTrade at a minimal cost of $1 per set.

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