The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism has said non- tariff measures are of particular concern to the country’s exporters as they are a major impediment to international trade and can hinder market access.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Non-Tarrif Measures (NTM) Data Validation workshop in Lilongwe on Monday, the ministry’s Principal Secretary Cliff Chiunda said Malawi is now heading in the right direction following the ratification of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in 2017.
Three regional economic communities (RECs) of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) are implementing various trade facilitation programmes for tripartite member partner States as a way of deepening regional integration.
According to Chiunda, TFA is the first multilateral agreement which looks at how procedures and controls governing the movement of goods across national borders.
He said: “This workshop has come at the right time because it will capacitate members of the national monitoring committee thereby assisting members States in Sadc and Comesa and even beyond to address internal obstacles hindering movement of goods within Malawi and beyond.
“Almost 80 percent of the challenges we face in exporting and importing goods is due to lack of knowledge by importers or exporters and the validation workshop will help address such challenges.”
Sadc programme officer for Standardisation, Quality Assurance Accreditation and Metrology (Sqam) Kuena Molapo said the five-day workshop will help participants to understand the challenges that affect trade and after validation, it will be easy to know what needs to be done before importing or exporting goods.
NTM mechanism administrator Vonesai Hove said a database is being developed which will have the necessary information regarding exports as one way of deepening trade.
“The information on the database will be shared with the private sector and will also be available on trade portals. The advantage is that Malawi will also be able to access information of what other countries require when it comes to imports,” she said.
The project is being funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to the tune of $7 million (K5.1 billion). n