Sinkamba cautions govt against abrogating COMESA trade Treaty

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Green Party President Peter Sinkamba says the decision by Government to start working on a list of goods and services that should not be imported into the country to help protect the local currency will definitely run in conflict with the COMESA Treaty.
Commerce, Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Miles Sampa has said it is unacceptable that Zambia has continued to import chickens, eggs and vegetables which are readily available in the country adding that it will be illegal to import the banned goods and that anyone found doing so will be prosecuted.
But Mr. Sinkamba says Government has made a commitment, under the COMESA Treaty to promote the achievement of the aims and objectives of the Common Market as set out in Article 3 of the Treaty.

 

Mr. Sinkamba explains that in line with Article 4 (1), in the field of trade liberalization and customs co-operation, Member States, including Zambia, have made a specific undertaking to abolish all non-tariff barriers to trade among themselves.
He says clearly, banning importation of chickens, eggs and vegetables is a non-tariff barrier adding that the ban therefore runs afoul with Article 4 (1).
He furthermore explains that in line with Article 4 (5), in the field of agriculture, Member States, including Zambia, have made a specific undertaking to enhance regional food sufficiency and co-operate in the export of agricultural commodities.
The Green Party Leader says the ban, therefore, is clearly in conflict with Article 4 (5).
Mr. Sinkamba says the best the PF Government can do, without running afoul with the COMESA Treaty, is to create a smart tariff barrier.
He says this can be done by introducing a prohibitive tariff which makes imported commodities extremely expensive and uncompetitive, as compared to local produce.

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