WASHINGTON DC —
The European Union today launched an export helpdesk in Harare expected to boost trade between Zimbabwe and the 27-member bloc of developed nations.
According to the EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell'Ariccia, 100 exporters of various commodities attended the launch seminar in the capital, focusing on the use of the free online helpdesk.
Mr. Dell’Ariccia says the informative service, which was launched worldwide in 2004, is a one-stop shop to inform businesses in developing countries like Zimbabwe on how to export goods to the EU.
He says in a few clicks, businesses can find the EU requirements, taxes, tariffs, preferential arrangements, rules of origin and the necessary export and import statistics.
“It is a free online service which permits the business community to have all relevant information needed for the export of their products to the EU. This will enable them to make an informed decision about exports to the 27-member bloc,” says Mr. Dell’Ariccia.
Zimbabwe last year ratified an economic partnership agreement signed by the EU and Eastern and Southern African (ESA) nations, making the ESA region the first of four African regions on the continent to have a partnership agreement with the European nations.
“This means that all the products exported from Zimbabwe to the European Union have access to these markets with half a billion people. They will have this access free of quarters and free of duty which means they don’t have to pay taxes when the products are imported in the EU and people do not have restrictions in terms of quantity,” said Ambassador Dell’Ariccia.
He says this helpdesk will therefore help exporters to make sure that they take full advantage of the opportunities that the EU offers as a market.
He further says total trade between the European Union and Zimbabwe in 2012 amounted to $800 million. “There is a positive trade balance for Zimbabwe as the country exported to the EU $170 million more than what it imported from the EU.”
Mr. Dell’Ariccia says Zimbabwe’s total exports to the EU amounted to $500 million and imports of EU goods to the country were pegged at $300 million.
Zimbabwe exports to the EU various commodities including copper, sugar, flowers, cotton, fermented tea and leather. It imports vehicles, chemicals and other goods from the European nations.