Zimbabwe exporters to the European Union (EU) are set to enjoy prospects from a recent development. The EU has indicated that duty has been suspended on products from Zimbabwe not more than €6000. This will not apply to every exporter though. It will be for Zimbabwe exporters that are registered under the relevant trade authorities. This is a particularly interesting development when you look back over the years. Relations between Zimbabwe and the EU have been turbulent for over 20 years. This makes this latest development indicative of probably a fresh start which would be great for Zimbabwe.

Brief History

Zimbabwe used to rake in lots of money through exports. The EU was one of Zimbabwe’s key export destinations for many years. That is why during that time the Zimbabwean agricultural industry was booming. Things took a turn when the land reform programme kicked in. This gave birth to a fierce bilateral dispute between Britain and Zimbabwe.

Bear in mind that Britain at the time was a member of the EU, a key one at that. Britain was heavily opposed to the land reform programme and in retaliation imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe. This swayed the EU to follow suit and impose sanctions on Zimbabwe as well. This culminated in significant disruptions in the exportation of products from Zimbabwe to the EU.

Details On The Latest Development

The European Union Customs authorities recently issued a statement announcing the duty waiver. Part of the statement read as follows:

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 submission of an invoice declaration made out, as provided for in Article 23 of Protocol1.

Therefore from July 1, 2021, movement certificates, EUR1 and invoice declarations made out by approved exporters are no longer valid to claim preferential treatment under the EU.”

The Zimbabwean products eligible for this duty suspension are products originated from animals, cereals, beverages, paper, plastics, rubber, textiles, footwear, clothing, glass, ceramics, consumer electronics, and vehicles.

The Implications Of This Development

The suspension of duty on Zimbabwean products imported into the EU makes them more competitive. Duty is usually prohibitive and makes it difficult for a product to be sought after. This suspension is going to hopefully lead to an increase in the demand for Zimbabwean products in the EU. This spells good news for Zimbabwe exporters as this means more business. This also encourages other players to start considering making exports to the EU.

I would advise you to get in touch with ZimTrade. ZimTrade, the national trade development and promotion organization, is the unique joint venture partnership between the Private Sector and the Government of Zimbabwe. It was established in 1991. It aims to energize Zimbabwe’s export growth. They can help you in all things regarding becoming a registered and licensed exporter to the EU. Check out their website for information.