Ministry of Industry and Trade says the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) electronic certificate of origin(eCoO) provision will help eliminate challenges that cross-border traders face.
In an interview with Business News on Saturday, the ministry’s spokesperson Mayeso Msokera said the implementation of eCoO is expected to enhance efficiency in serving the business community through seamless trade operations.
He said: “The development will significantly reduce the time and costs incurred by cross-border traders when applying, tracking and obtaining certificates of origin from issuing authorities.
“This is also expected to speed up customs clearance, reduce non-tariff barriers to trade and enhance Malawi’s participation in the regional value chains which will ultimately promote regional industrialisation.”
Msokera said Malawi has advanced in developing eCoO system which is being supported by the European Union through the Sadc Trade Facilitation Programme.
In view of the regional integration agenda, in particular in the areas of trade facilitation to support the implementation of the Sadc Industrialisation Strategy, Sadc established the eCoO—a document that is required by an importing country as evidence for the purpose of granting preferential treatment to goods produced in the member countries.
Malawi, alongside Eswatini, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia and Botswana, have already developed their national module and will participate in the pilot phase starting May end.
In an interview with Business News, Cross-Border Traders Association of Malawi president Esther Tchukambiri described the development as a relief to traders.
“Regional trade has great potential but time and costs incurred when applying, tracking and obtaining certificates of origin from issuing authorities have poised a challenge to us for a long time. Now knowing government moved to eliminate such barriers is a huge relief and an assurance things are going to get better,” she said.
Over the years, small and medium enterprises in the country have failed to realise their potential in cross-border trade, citing challenges ranging from improper application of laws, regulations, policies, conditions, restrictions or specific requirements.