The business community says the local industry is not yet ready for the adoption of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (T-FTA) owing to economic constraints that continue to stifle growth.The signing of the declaration launching negotiations for the establishment of Tripartite Free Trade Area among the three regional trading blocs of SADC, EAC and COMESA in Johannesburg, South Africa has ignited hope among African economies on the formation of a trading bloc.
In an interview with ZBC News in the capital, industrialist and former Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president, Mr. Callisto Jokonya said it is a good development but the local economy is constrained, hence the need to call for the extension to give the local industry breathing space.
Tourism and travel executive, Mr. Abicia Ushewekunze said the local industry is heavily constrained with the unavailability of lines of credit compounded by existence of illegal economic sanctions resulting in low capacity utilisation.
The proposed Tripartite Free Trade Area will include 26 countries and is anticipated to boost the economic fortunes and regional co-operation on the continent with a gross domestic product of US$1 trillion.
With a market of US$875 billion, the Free Trade Area is projected to create new markets for established economies compared to under capitalised economies.