**** In the pic: Peter Varndell, Executive Secretary of the SADC Business Council ****
By Staff Reporters
Non-tariff barriers (NTBs) are generally defined as any kind of ‘red tape’ or trade rules, regulations and procedures, other than tariffs that unjustifiably restrict the flow of goods and services. NTBs may take the form of quantitative restrictions, discriminatory taxes or excessive document requirements applied on imports, unduly discriminatory rules of origin, extensive use of trade remedies, or the unjustified and or improper use of health, product safety regulations or quality standards, customs delay and technical barriers. A United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report suggests that African countries could gain US$ 20 billion in GDP growth each year by tackling such barriers at the continental level. The SADC Business Council (SADC BC) and the GIZ Cooperation for the Enhancement of SADC Regional Economic Integration (CESARE) Programme have been working together since 2020 to remove these kinds of trade barriers.
“The Trade component of the CESARE programme, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), supports regional economic integration in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The programme aims to improve the preconditions for trade in goods and services in line with the SADC industrialization agenda for SADC Member States,” said Danièle Stübi, Trade Advisor, GIZ CESARE Programme.
The German Government through the GIZ CESARE programme has provided financial and technical support to an initiative coordinated by the SADC BC that focuses on identifying and resolving NTBs, promoting the active use of the Tripartite NTB Reporting, Monitoring and Elimination Mechanism and providing direct assistance and coordination in the resolution of specific reported NTBs.
Over the last two years, the SADC BC together with the SADC Secretariat and GIZ CESARE, helped resolve a number of NTBs including those involving testing of metals in wine products exported to Zambia. The resolution of this NTB has helped to unlock trade in wine products between South Africa and Zambia. Total market value in trade between South Africa and Zambia on wine products is R29 300 000.00 (USD1 737 192) per annum.
Over the same period, the SADC BC also helped Arenel, a food processing and beverages manufacturer which is situated in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, to comply with South Africa’s labelling and packaging standards through a 6-month exemption waiver granted by the South Africa Port Authority. The waiver ensured trade continued unhindered between South Africa and Zimbabwe in the short term while Arenel complies with South Africa’s labelling and packaging requirements. The resolution of this NTB unlocked trade worth R2 500 000 per month and reduced compliance costs amounting to R134 000.
Further, the resolution of the above NTBs among others have enabled the seamless movement of trucks across the region’s borders thereby avoiding unnecessary costs and delays. With the support of GIZ CESARE, the SADC BC and SADC Secretariat began a regional study to identify gaps and variances in Genetical Modified Organisms (GMO) legislations among SADC countries. The study is complete, and results validated. The next steps are under discussion in consultation with SADC Secretariat.
In addition to this, the SADC BC has been raising awareness, through hosting private sector NTB sensitisation workshops across the region. Recently SADC BC, SADC Secretariat and GIZ CESARE hosted virtual training and capacity-building training sessions on NTBs in the SADC region for SADC economic operators and private sector associations. A physical NTB sensitisation workshop will be held in August 2022 in Johannesburg, South Africa for National Focal Persons and National Monitoring Committees to provide them with capacity to identify and resolve NTBs.
The significance of NTBs is recognised by many African countries, evidenced by the adoption of an Annex to the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) specifically dedicated to eliminating NTBs. The ‘NTB Annex’ mandates the establishment of a mechanism for the identification, categorisation and elimination of NTBs.
Echoing the sentiments of the importance of NTBs shared at the SADC Industrialisation Week that took place recently on 2nd – 6th August 2022 in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mr Peter Varndell, Executive Secretary of the SADC Business Council said “We believe the elimination of NTBs will significantly boost intra-Africa trade, in line with AfCFTA’s aim to create a single continental market with free movement of goods, services and capital. This will further promote the competitiveness of African business, and contribute towards poverty alleviation, inclusive and sustainable development in Africa. We encourage businesses in the region to fully utilize interventions and resources offered by the SADC BC.”
About SADC Business Council
The SADC Business Council (SADC BC) is a regional apex body for SADC private sector. It represents national and regional apex business associations of the 16 SADC member States. SADC BC is the prime public sector partner in forging SADC development and integration. The main role of the SADC BC is to involve the private sector (businesses and representatives) in:
- SADC decision making processes to drive the implementation of SADC plans and priority programmes
- Promoting knowledge and information sharing between SADC and private sector
- Bringing in the private sector expertise, experience, viewpoints and perspectives in SADC policy making processes
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About SADC Secretariat
SADC is an organisation of 16 Member States established in 1980 as the Southern African Development Coordinating Conference (SADCC) and later, in August,1992 transformed into the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The mission of SADC is to promote sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development through efficient, productive systems, deeper cooperation and integration, good governance and durable peace and security; so that the region emerges as a competitive and effective player in international relations and the world economy. Member States are Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
For more information, visit: sadc.int
For any enquiries, please contact:
SADC Business Council
Marketing and Communications Manager
Tel: +27 10 596 1908
GIZ Cooperation for the Enhancement of SADC Regional Economic Integration (CESARE) Programme
Dr. Jens Olaf Koeniger
Programme Component Manager
Tel: (+267) 728 10087
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Mrs. Meron Estifanos
Communications and Visibility Expert
Tel: (+267) 759 43550