The South African government is engaging Zimbabwe on the latest trade restrictions imposed by Zimbabwe, the trade and industry department (dti) said on Sunday.
The dti noted with concern the range of trade restrictive measures that the government of Zimbabwe had introduced, it said in a statement.
These measures included import bans, surcharges, increases in import duties, requirements for import permits, and other forms of restrictions that had negative implications on intra-regional trade.
“The position of the government of Zimbabwe is that these trade restrictions are necessary to support the development of local industries and to relieve the pressure of economic sanctions which have led to balance of payments challenges,” the dti said.
The recent ban on imports or requirement for import permits for a number of products, such as cosmetics, cereals, coffee creamer, mayonnaise, cheese, canned fruits and vegetables, secondhand tyres, iron and steel products, furniture, and woven cotton fabrics, in June, was in addition to the previously instituted measures.
“The adverse impact on South African exporters cannot be underestimated and the dti continues to be responsive to affected exporters and to make representations to the government of Zimbabwe,” the dti said.
At the recent meeting of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) committee of trade ministers, South Africa and Zimbabwe were requested to report to the SADC on the implications of these measures for the coherence of the SADC Trade Protocol.
On behalf of the South African government, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies had been engaging the Zimbabwean government bilaterally and through the SADC structures to find an amicable solution that was in accordance with Zimbabwe’s obligations of the SADC Protocol on Trade, while at the same time being sensitive to Zimbabwe’s industrial development and balance of payments problems, the dti said. – African News Agency (ANA)