Simplified trade deal in 6 months
Malawi and Mozambique have agreed to conclude the establishment of a simplified trade regime (STR) between their two countries in six months as one way of promoting cross-border trade between them.
STR is being championed by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) to help the small trader benefit from the preferential rates enjoyed by commercial trader when importing or exporting goods within the region.
The regime is already operational between various countries where goods are traded free of customs duty under a Simplified Certificate of Origin issued at the border for consignments of US$1,000 or less.
Although Mozambique is not a member of Comesa, Malawi and Mozambique have been exploring the possibility of adopting the concept under their bilateral trade agreement to promote cross-border trading between themselves.
During the bilateral trade talks between the two countries held in Tete, Mozambique two weeks ago, it was learned that Malawi had submitted documents on STR and was waiting for comments from Mozambique.
Mozambique indicated that STR was important to Mozambique as well in view of the trade volumes that take place across the borders
of the two countries and that the country was willing to learn from Malawi’s experience in implementing STR with other countries.
“Mozambique undertook to work from that perspective and to review the documents for subsequent recommendations to their government. Comments will be provided before the next bilateral technical meeting,” reads minutes of the meeting in Tete, in part.
The delegations from the two countries agreed to conclude the establishment of STR within the next six months, with a mid-term meeting to be held in three months to review progress.
Meanwhile, Mozambique is hesitant to proceed with the launch of a one-stop-border post with Malawi at Chiponde-Mandimba border post from Mangochi until it gets assurance from Malawi on the chances of success on the collaborative efforts based on the latter’s experience with Zambia.
“Mozambique indicated that its experience with South Africa and Swaziland has delayed. On this basis, the Mozambican authorities were for the time being, hesitant to proceed with the launch of the Chiponde/ Mandimba One Stop Border Posts,” read the minutes, in part.
The two countries have since agreed to meet again by June 2016 to have in-depth discussion, including sharing of experiences in order to chart the way forward for future collaboration on the envisaged one-stop-border posts.
On the other border posts between the two countries at Mwanza-Zobue, Dedza-Calomue, Mulanje-Milanje, Malawi and Mozambique have also agreed to request the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to assist them on the proposals in view of the importance of the project.
“It was also proposed that both countries should explore best practices on one-stop-border posts and learn from them,” reads a copy of the minutes.