COMESA’s global trade for 2015 recorded a deficit mainly due to the fluctuating prices of commodities on the world market.

Assistant Secretary General for Programmes (ASGP) Ambassador Kipyego Cheluget revealed in Lusaka that provisional figures available at the Secretariat are showing that COMESA’s global trade deficit was at US$100 billion in 2015. Both 2014 and 2015 had the highest levels of trade deficit recorded in the past 9 years at US$97 billion and US$100 billion respectively.

“The level of COMESA trade has continued to grow although it was affected for 2015 by the fluctuating prices of commodities on the world market. COMESA’s global total exports declined by 20% from US$85 billion in 2014 to US$68 billion in 2015,” Dr Cheluget said.

He was speaking at the 32nd meeting of the trade and customs committee in Lusaka.

“Intra-COMESA trade represented 7% of total COMESA trade each year for the past four years. This level of intra-trade is low and calls for concerted efforts for our economies to move up the value chain so as to enhance the value of trade exchanges among our countries,” Dr Cheluget added.

The ASGP called on member States to honour their Free Trade Area obligations and encouraged other States yet to join to do so. He also called on the countries to resolve the pending Non-Tariff Barriers which are affecting trade.