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EU sees Zim trade rise to $1 billion – The Zimbabwe Mail

Ambassador von Kirchman (center) flanked by ambassadors of Sweden and Italy in Zimbabwe

THE European Union expects Zimbabwe’s annual exports to the regional bloc to reach one billion euros (nearly $1.08 billion) in the short to medium term, up from the current 700 million euros ($760 million), driven by the horticulture, as relations between Harare and the West gradually thaw.

BERNARD MPOFU

Diplomatic relations between Zimbabwe and the EU became frozen after the southern African country began a chaotic land reform exercise that led to more than 4,000 white former commercial farmers losing large swathes of land to locals. Harare then turned to the East to compensate for Western isolation.

After promising to compensate white farmers who lost commercially viable land, diplomatic relations have since improved, as evidenced by the EU’s growing financial and technical involvement in Zimbabwe in recent years.

The EU stationed its delegation in Harare immediately after independence in 1980. With over 450 million people in 27 countries, the EU forms a single market that offers duty-free and quota-free benefits for Zimbabwean products.

“We have a trade agreement with Zimbabwe, it is the economic partnership agreement. It has been around for several years and very often when we go somewhere and talk about it, people are not aware that Zimbabwean companies can export to the European Union tax and tariff free and they can also import from the EU with some restrictions. to protect their own market.

For example, no dairy products, no poultry, etc. Otherwise, companies can buy tax and tariff-free packaging materials,” the head of the EU delegation to Zimbabwe, Jobst von Kirchmann, said in a media briefing.

“To date, we have an annual trade of €700 million, the fourth largest buyer, the fifth largest trading partner and the largest buyer of horticultural products in the country. We could do much more. First of all, companies need to know that this possibility exists.

We have less than 200 companies registered for export, it could be 2000. For our part, we have put in place a program to facilitate trade… I hope that in the next few years we will perhaps reach €1 billion in trade, because we have seen a significant increase in recent years. We now have 700 million euros, so it is a realistic target.”

Regarding the El Niño-induced drought, von Kirchmann said more than $60 million has already been allocated under the “Team Europe Initiative” to address various aspects of the drought cycle.

“This year, Team Europe’s Greener and Climate Smart Agriculture efforts became particularly relevant given the current El Niño-induced drought, which is being exacerbated by climate change.” – Newshawk