BRUSSELS, (The Southern African Times) – THE European Union (EU) has suspended duty on products originating from Zimbabwe not exceeding EUR6 000 for exporters registered by the Western bloc’s system in a development signifying a new twist in the duo’s relations.
Zimbabwe and EU have not had the warmest of relations for over two decades after the bloc took sides with Britain, a key member of the organisation then, following a major bilateral dispute between Harare and London following the former’s decision to expropriate land from white farmers at the turn of the millennium.
Th EU joined Britain in imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe, which included stringent export measures.
But in a statement posted in the Official Journal of the European Union customs authorities Tuesday, the bloc said it would implement the duty waiver directive.
“This notice is issued for the information of customs authorities’ importers and economic operators which are involved in the imports into the EU of products originating in Zimbabwe under the EU – ESA interim Economic partnership. Following a notification made by Zimbabwe to the Customs Cooperation Committee of the EU-ESA iEPA activating Article 18 (3) of protocol 1 to the EU-ESA iEPA from July 1 2021 products originating from Zimbabwe shall on importation into the EU, benefit from preferential tariff treatment of the iEPA upon a submission of an invoice declaration made out, as provided for in Article 23 of Protocol1,” EU said.
Qualifying goods shall be from a Zimbabwean exporter registered in the EU’s Registered Exporter system or any Zimbabwean exporter where the total value of the originating products consigned does not exceed EUR6 000.
“Therefore from July 1, 2021, movement certificates EUR1 and invoice declarations made out by approved exporters are no longer valid to claim preferential tariff treatment under the EU – ESA iEPA,” EU said.
Market watchers in Harare have partly credited ongoing reforms by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration which has made frantic efforts to re-engage the West for broader economic cooperation.
Zimbabwe has also managed to stabilise its local currency and established a Foreign Exchange Auction System both of which have been hailed by many listed companies as having spurred productivity and strategically positioned firms.