Trade between the European Union and Malawi narrowed in 2016, with trade balance declining to negative 151 million euros (about K123 billion) from negative 209 million euros (about K171 billion), latest statistics from the directorate general for trade of the European Commission indicates.
During the year under review, imports from the EU declined by 17.2 percent from 328 million euros (about K269 billion) in 2015 to 272 million euros (about K223 billion).
Exports on the other hand grew by 1.6 percent 119 million euros (about K98 billion) in 2015 to 121 million euros (about 99 billion).
During the period under review, food and live animals, crude materials, inedible, except fuels and beverages, and tobacco topped the import list while food and live animals, chemicals and related products, and machinery and transport equipment topped the country’s export list.
The development comes in the wake of narrowing with recent statistics the Annual Economic Report indicating that while imports declined by 10.5 percent from K1 134 627 million in 2015 to K1 015 000 million in 2016, exports on the other hand grew by 31.7 percent the same year.
According to the report, improvement of commodity prices on the international market, and increase in production of commodities, such as, sugar and tea, is expected to grow exports further by 3.1 percent in 2017.
In an earlier interview, EU Marchel Gerrmann said there is more room for Malawi to improve if the country is to fully benefit from the EU-Malawi trade relations, a development which needs implementation of the right policies.
“Malawi should capitalise on agricultural products such as tea and cash crops that can be developed and overtime Malawi can invest more in value chain food processing so that they can find their way to the international market,” he said.