TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Zambia: AGOA not fully exploited

Monday, 18 February 2013

Source: Zambia Daily Mail

Zambia's government is saddened that Zambia has not exploited the United States of America market under the African Growth Opportunity (AGOA) treaty due to failure to comply with the standards in that market.

Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary Stephen Mwansa said the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) and Zambia Weights and Measures (ZW&M) should assist in enhancing quality and standards for the country to benefit from the AGOA treaty.

Mr Mwansa said lack of proper support infrastructure has limited the production of quality products.

“The AGOA treaty enables up to 6,000 products to enter the US market but sadly, we have not even exported 10 products except for a few processed foods exported by Sylva Professional Catering Services Limited,” he said.

Mr Mwansa said this in an interview in Lusaka recently.

He said while Sylva Professional Catering Services Limited is exporting processed foods to the US, the volumes are quite low compared to what other countries are exporting and what the US demands.

Mr Mwansa said the US market is huge and offers a lot of export opportunities for Zambia and the country should position itself for that market.

He said Government is working at reducing the cost of doing business by among other initiatives improving trade facilitation infrastructure such as railway.

“A container of various goods from Ganzhou, China to ports of Dar-es- Salaam/Beira/Durban will cost about US$1,800 but it costs about US$6,000 to move the same container from either ports to Lusaka. It is clear that cost of transportation is high and as such we need to improve our railway sector to the ports to improve trade,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Mwansa has hailed Standard Chartered Bank for allocating about US$300million to support small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in Zambia saying the development will go a long way in addressing financial challenges faced by the sector.

Recently, Standard Chartered Bank announced that it will in the next few years inject about US$300million to support SMEs in Zambia.

The permanent secretary, however, urged SMEs to develop proper corporate governance structures if they are to receive financial support.

 

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