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Zimbabwe Exports to EU Increase as Trade Deficit Remains High

Zimbabwe used to export large quantities of beef to the European Union before the country's economy nearly collapsed.

The International Trade Centre (ITC) says Zimbabwe’s exports to the European Union (EU) have increased to $153 million from about $31 million the previous year, buoyed by diamonds sales to the Antwerp World Diamond Centre in Brussels, Belgium.

The ICT is a joint agency of the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations. Apart from diamonds, exports to the EU include raw hides, precious stones, salt, sulphur, lime and cement.

Economists though say Zimbabwe must work on beneficiation of its raw materials to address the trade deficit.

Zimbabwe’s trade deficit stood at $3 billion between January and November last year as the economy continued its overreliance on imports, latest trade data from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency shows.

The data shows that imports in the first 11 months of the year stood at $5,8 billion while exports amounted to $2,8 billion.

The deficit stood at $2,9 billion between January and October.

Chief economist Prosper Chitambara of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe said Harare needs to do more to address the trade imbalance.