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Botswana: Exporters told to prepare for global competition

Published date:
Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Local exporters have been urged to roll up their sleeves in readiness for stiff competition that will come with trade liberalisation characterised by tariff reduction.

Opening the annual general meeting of the Botswana Exporters and Manufacturers Association (BEMA) last Thursday, Trade and Industry Assistant Minister Duke Lefhoko said these developments meant more intensified competition.

"It is therefore absolutely vital that our companies position themselves strategically to face this global competition," Lefhoko said. "For a long time, our companies have been inwardly focused, looking to Government as the main consumer of their products and services." The minister's comments come short on the heels of the recent signing of the SADC Free Trade Area (FTA) agreement at the recent SADC summit in Johannesburg.

The FTA will result in a free movement of goods and services within and among the SADC countries that appended their signatures to the agreement. These include Botswana, which has a history of dependence on imports more than most SADC countries.

Lefhoko told the exporters that Government had been in bilateral and multilateral negotiations to open up markets for goods and services produced in the country.

At present, Botswana goods have access to US markets through the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the European Union (EU) through the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA), as well as to the SADC and SACU markets.

"Botswana companies should therefore take full advantage of these markets to manufacture and export the full range of products for which market access has been secured", he said.

Lefhoko also assured BEMA members that their concerns on trade facilitation and intra-SACU trade barriers were receiving attention within Government and had been raised at the SACU Council of Ministers' Retreat held last month in Kasane at which it was agreed that a meeting would be held in the near future to address problems experienced by exporters at borders.

"I also need to add that while we are concerned about import control measures that affect our exports to other countries, Botswana also has her own import control regulations that are being challenged by the other countries and the business community," he said.

“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

Click here to view a sector profile of Botswana’s bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.

Other regularly updated trade statistics on include: (click each link to view)

  • AGOA-Beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.

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