COMESA warns against unilateral trade remedies

Lusaka- Zambia (PANA) -- Secretary general Erastus Mwencha of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Monday criticised member states which take unilateral remedies in trying to resolve trade issues among member countries.
In a speech at the opening of the tenth meeting of the Comesa Trade and Customs Committee in Lusaka, Mwencha warned member states against taking unilateral remedies, and urged them to follow rules provided in the treaty to resolve their problems.
Mwencha emphasised that the adoption of trade remedy regulations was a key ingredient to consolidate the liberalisation programme and allow member states to take remedial action should their economies face injury as a result of the Comesa trade regime.
"Sometimes we learn through the press that some countries have decided to erect a prohibition or have banned importation of certain products.
Comesa as a rule based organisation is appealing that member states remedial action be initiated in accordance with the Trade Remedy Regulations," Mwencha said.
According to Mwencha only one remedial action has so far been undertaken in accordance with treaty provisions.
Last week, Zambia's minister for Commerce, Trade and Industry Bates, Namuyamba announced that government was in the process of issuing a statutory instrument to ban imports from neighbouring Zimbabwe.
The minister said that government would ban cheap imports from Zimbabwe to protect the interests of Zambian local manufacturers.
Parallel exchange rate has been cited as one of the major causes of cheaper products coming in from Zimbabwe.
The government said it could counteract the parallel exchange rate existing in Zimbabwe through safeguard measures.
And Namuyamba, who admitted that government has not yet officially communicated to Comesa secretariat over its trade problems with Zimbabwe, said that the Zambian government was in the process of informing Comesa.
"I can't say much on this issue but we want to see a level playing field," Namuyamba told PANA on Monday in Lusaka.

15 avril 2002 12:41:00

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