EU and COMESA signs a 48.3 million Euros trade facilitation programme

The European Union and COMESA have signed a 48.3 Million Euros trade facilitation programme.

The COMESA Trade Facilitation Programme aims at deepening regional integration, improving inclusive regional economic growth and enhancing competitiveness of the COMESA region.

COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe and the Head of the European Union Delegation to Zambia, Alessandro Mariani signed the Agreement.

This paves the way to commence the implementation of the planned activities in the whole COMESA/tripartite region as well as at the targeted corridors and border areas in the COMESA region.

The Programme is financed under the 11th European Development Fund, The project aims at increasing intra-regional trade flows of goods, persons and services by reducing the costs/delays of imports/exports at specific border posts.

This will be achieved through the reduction of non-tariff barriers across the borders, the implementation of the COMESA Digital Free Trade Agreements, the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreements, improvement of the Coordinated Management and the liberalization of the trade in services and movements of persons.

COMESA Secretary General Mulenga Kapwepwe cited the lack of coordinated border controls, seamless exchange of information as well as Trade and Transport Corridor Monitoring System as some major causes of high freight costs in the COMESA region compared with other regions.

And Ambassador Mariani said the EU-COMESA Trade Facilitation Programme is of utmost importance and will greatly contribute to the implementation of the New Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs recently launched by the EU.

And Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry Kayula Siame, who was the chief guest at the event said with this Trade Facilitation programme, COMESA will have a more prioritized trade facilitation programme which will ensure simple and flexible rules of origin as well as dynamic systems for elimination of non-tariff barriers and the instruments for trade facilitation will be effectively and efficiently used.

COMESA Secretariat will be responsible for managing the overall coordination of this programme, with sub activities sub-delegated to Member States and other implementing agencies to ensure the greatest impacts and the best value for money.

Source: Lusaka Times

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