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Economists Question Benefits of International Trade Agreements

  • Mavis Gama

Shanghai Free Trade Zone

Shanghai Free Trade Zone

Economists and business people say the government should review most trade agreements signed with various countries which are not benefiting Zimbabweans. They believe that in future the country should enter into such agreements with the view of getting maximum economic benefits.

This came out during an information-sharing meeting at a local hotel jointly organised by the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and the Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATIN).

Economists and other stakeholders who attended the meeting noted that Zimbabwe is one of the four countries in the Eastern and Southern African (ESA) bloc to sign Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union.

Despite looking good on paper, they said these agreements favoured developed nations instead of nations like Zimbabwe.

As a result, they said government representatives need to attend the forthcoming 9th World Trade Organization symposium to be held in Bali, Indonesia, where some issues on economic partnerships will be discussed.

Economist Albert Makochekanwa said there are numerous reasons that made countries like Zimbabwe to sign some of these agreements despite the imbalance in trade between developing and advanced nations.

Chief facilitator with Impilo Life Collections, Zoao Zangaroti, who also attended today’s meeting, said it is disappointing to note that government does not bother to get what its citizens wish to have tabled in such forums.

Zimbabwe Cross Border Traders Association’s Secretary General, Augustine Tawanda, further noted that there is lack of inclusivity regarding issues affecting those in the cross border trade.

Most of the economists and other stakeholders who attended the meeting agreed that such consultation processes are crucial in enhancing knowledge on signing trade agreements with developed nations.