Experts push for trade reforms

Experts push for trade reforms

Post was last updated: July 21, 2021

The Ministry of Trade has reaffirmed its commitment to creating regulations and reforms as a step towards attaining aspirations embedded in the long-term national development plane, the Malawi 2063.

This was said recently at a day-long regulation and trade reforms workshop focusing on Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) hosted by JTI Leaf Malawi, the Ministry of Trade and Property Rights Alliance.

Ministry of Trade Principal Secretary Christina Zakeyo said consultations showed commitment towards national development.

“We have gone into these specific consultative meetings to ensure that the necessary consensus is obtained in particular from these many groups so that we are able to conclude a better agreement, and that’s why we are discussing it within this particular framework [because] we believe that it is important,” Zakeyu said.

Among other things, one of the main focus points was fostering discussions on the long awaited signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union to allow for better trade possibilities.

The EPA is an arrangement that would allow the creation of a Free Trade Area (FTA) between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP).

Malawi continues to benefit from preferential treatment in terms of non-reciprocal, duty-free access for its exports into the EU market under the Generalised System of Preferences: The Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement.

JTI Leaf Corporate Affairs and Communications Director Limbani Kakhome said, if signed, the agreement would better trade possibilities.

“The EU is a major export destination for a lot of our commodities [such as] tobacco, sugar, tea, and many other commodities. Considering that it is the main destination, we are sitting with an arrangement that was concocted years ago, the EBA agreement, after the EU proposed to many countries to move to the FTA.

“Malawi has been contemplating on this one for many years; so, we decided to resuscitate this discussion,” Kakhome said.

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