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Remove non-tarriff barriers, Scott urges COMESA

ACTING President Dr Guy Scott, centre, at the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Thirty-Third Meeting of the Council of Ministers at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka yesterday. He is flanked by Minister of Commerce Bob Sichinga (left) and COMESA Secretary-General Sindiso Ngwenya. PICTURE: COLLINS PHIRI.

KELVIN CHONGO, Lusaka
ACTING President Guy Scott has called on Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) member states to remove non-tariff barriers in order to promote intra-regional trade.
Dr Scott is concerned that non-tariff barriers are a threat to intra-regional trade among COMESA member states.
“There is need for COMESA member states to remove non-tariff barriers that are impeding free trade in the region,” Dr Scott said.
He said this when he officially opened the 33rd meeting of the COMESA council of Ministers at Mulungushi International Conference Centre.
Dr Scott urged member countries to maintain efforts to avoid non-tariff measures, which may harm intra-regional trade.
He said trade barriers that hinder people from moving certain goods through borders still exist despite the 20 years of COMESA integration.
“One such thing is the insistence by some neighbouring countries on yellow fever certificate when the diseases actually do not exist,” Dr Scott said.
He also said travel restrictions imposed by some countries are hurting Zambia’s tourism sector and are extremely painful.
Dr Scott urged the meeting of the COMESA council of ministers to resolve these issues and to make the Free Trade Area a reality.
Dr Scott also said Zambia cannot export agricultural products to South Africa because of non-tariff barriers imposed by that country.
The meeting of the COMESA Council of ministers is being held under the theme: “Consolidating Intra-COMESA Trade through Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development”.
Dr Scott is also concerned about rampant smuggling of Zambian goods into Democratic Republic of Congo.

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