Identify alternative markets, Zambia Sugar advised

THE Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) says Zambia Sugar Company should quickly identify alternative export markets for sugar following plans by the European Union (EU) to stop importing the commodity by 2017.
CTPD executive director Isabel Mukelebai said identifying other markets before 2017 will cushion the impact the move by the EU will have on sugar exports.
Zambia exports about 138,00 tonnes of raw sugar to the EU annually but the EU has started producing sugar and will not allow imports of the commodity by 2017.
“EU is instituting reforms in the sugar industry, meaning that the Zambian sugar will no longer be allowed into that market, so these are issues we need to think about as a country…What is our plan around the export of sugar? we need to be forward-looking,” she said  when CTPD made a submission to the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Affairs, Energy and Labour last week.
Ms Mukelebai said there is need for the country to be proactive in addressing issues of trade between Zambia and the EU market.
“We need to quickly deal with this issue because 2017 is not far from now. We need to be proactive in addressing the impact this move will have on the country,” she said.
Commenting on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) negotiations, Ms Mukelebai said there is need for the trade partnership to support Zambia in addressing supply-side constraints, such as infrastructure and marketing.
“EPAs do not include any binding commitments or new funds to help with, yet this is an area of need for Zambia. CTPD therefore questions whether signing the EPAs in their current form will be helpful in this regard, seeing that a key area of need will not be addressed through EPAs,” she said.
Ms Mukelebai also said Zambia should maintain its position of emphasising that development is at the core of the negotiations.
She said the negotiations must recognise the different levels of development of the countries involved and be compatible with commitments under the World Trade Organisation.

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