tfta.jpgGovernment has engaged industry on Zimbabwe’s proposed tariff reduction structures for the Tripartite Free Trade Area ahead of its implementation in 2014.

The arrangement is being made after industry recently revealed that Zimbabwe is not ready for the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) following its launch last month to pave way for the merger of East African Community, SADC and COMESA into a single trading organisation.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Regional Integration and International Cooperation, Mr Tadeous Chifamba said the government is in discussions with industry representatives to come up with (TFTA) tariff reduction structures that will facilitate viability of industry and increase competitiveness of locally produced goods.

“We know the concerns of the industry and we are saying that let’s chart a common way forward,” Mr Chifamba said.

Mr Chifamba said proposals from industry will assist the government in ensuring that Zimbabwe enjoys a huge market share in the free trade area.

In terms of the free trade zone, member countries are expected to harmonise regional trading structures.

However, observers say there is need to level the playing field among member states as some countries such as South Africa, which are enjoying a booming industrial base, are likely to benefit at the expense of Zimbabwe, which has a capacity utilisation of around 50%.