Malawi calls for accelerated intra-regional trade in SADC
SADC member states must increase efforts to accelerate intra-regional trade by addressing challenges that stymie the region's quest for increased trade in the SADC region, says Mark Katsonga Phiri.
Malawi: Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states must increase efforts to accelerate intra-regional trade by addressing challenges that stymie the region's quest for increased trade in the SADC region.
Mark Katsonga Phiri, Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Malawi and Chairperson of the 33rd Committee of Ministers of Trade, stated this during the official opening of the 33rd meeting of the Committee of Ministers of Trade, which was held on the 8th of July 2022 in Lilongwe, Republic of Malawi.
The Minister urged Member States to address issues such as low supply capacity, limited industrialization, poor logistics for the movement of goods and services, protectionism, poor infrastructure and non-harmonisation and cooperative mechanisms for cross-border infrastructure, imposition of non-tariff barriers such as stringent rules of origin, and poor implementation of trade commitments.
Elias Mpedi Magosi, SADC Executive Secretary, emphasised the importance of consolidating the SADC Free Trade Area (FTA), which is critical to collective efforts to liberalise SADC intra-regional trade in goods and services.
He emphasised that regional integration in SADC would be successful only in the presence of an appropriate regulatory environment, and he urged Member States to prioritise the ratification of legal instruments, which serve as a framework for cooperation and enablers of the regional agenda.
The Ministers took note of the proposed work on the development of the SADC Regional Consumer Policy Framework and Model Law; endorsed the Secretariat's proposal on the separation of Competition Policy from Consumer Policy; and directed the Secretariat to expedite the process of developing the SADC Regional Consumer Policy and Model Law.
The Ministers noted that several capacity building initiatives on EU-SADC EPA were provided to SADC EPA States stakeholders to enable them to implement and trade under the EU-SADC EPA; and noted the resubmission of the EU-SADC EPA Review and urged Member States to participate in the review process.
The Ministers welcomed the Protocol on Trade in Services' entry into force and urged Member States to widely publicise it; directed the Secretariat to expedite the development of the Regional Implementation Action Plan; and urged Member States that require technical assistance in developing their National Implementation Action Plans to submit their requests to the Secretariat.
The Ministers approved the SADC Simplified Trade Regime Procedure Manuals and related training materials, with the goal of increasing the capacity of customs officials and other stakeholders, as well as raising awareness about the SADC Simplified Trade Regime Framework.