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COMESA Secretariat recently conducted an awareness workshop on various issues including Rules of Origin, Customs Union, Non-Tariff Barriers, the Continental Free Trade Area and market opportunities for members of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI).

The CZI had requested for this interaction for its members on COMESA’s trade protocols as a way of empowering the private sector with the right knowledge and information as they do business in the region.

CZI president Mr Stefani Jabangwe said his country was not taking full advantage of the preferential trading arrangements under COMESA and other regional economic Communities largely due to lack of awareness. He stressed the need for the private sector to understand the opportunities created by organisations such as COMESA.

Director of International Trade in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce Mrs Beatrice Mutetwa challenged the private sector to take advantage of the trade opportunities presented by COMESA even though the Zimbabwean economy was faced with liquidity issues.

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce made a presentation on Zimbabwe’s participation in COMESA programmes and it was noted that the country is active is many programmes such as the Free Trade Area, the Yellow Card and the Simplified Trade Regime (STR). 

The county is also a member of COMESA institutions namely ZEP-RE, the Trade and Development Bank (PTA Bank), the African Trade Insurance Agency and the Leather and Leather products Institute (LLPI).

Senior Trade Officer from the COMESA Secretariat Mr Tasara Muzorori made presentations on the opportunities available in COMESA and the trade protocols. A lively discussion followed and answers were provided for the many questions including on the Non-Tariff Barriers.

Forty executives from various companies, officials from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and members of the academia from Universities of Chinhoyi and Zimbabwe attended the workshop.

The CZI is the apex organization for industry in Zimbabwe whose mission is to foster, encourage, promote, protect and advance the sustainable growth and development of the manufacturing industry and business interest of Zimbabwe’s economic prosperity.