Britain cements Zim ties ahead of Brexit

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Takudzwa Chihambakwe

As Britain moves towards Brexit, the country is looking for new partners. What London might lose in exiting the European Union it could recover from strengthening relations with Zimbabwe.

Britain’s ambassador to Zimbabwe, Melanie Robinson who paid a courtesy call on Zimbabwe’s Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda on Wednesday said her government is looking to ratify treaties between London and Harare to ensure that trade between the two countries continue in the aftermath of Brexit.

“The first thing we discussed was the continuation of trade between the UK and Zimbabwe,” said Ambassador Robinson.

“We have excellent trade relationships at the moment. Over $400 million in goods from Zimbabwe go to the UK every year. We discussed about ratifying our agreement to continue trading, even after the UK has left the European Union.”

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Her remarks come after Zimbabwe’s cabinet last week approved ratification of the Eastern and Southern Africa-United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (ESA-UK) Economic Partnership Agreement.

“The agreement seeks to ensure the maintenance of existing market access

to the UK by ESA Signatory States which comprise Zimbabwe, the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, the Seychelles and Zambia,” revealed Information Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa.

In terms of the agreement, the UK will grant duty-free and quota-

free market access for all goods exported by the ESA countries to the UK, except for arms and ammunition.

“On their part, the ESA States will continue to gradually liberalise 80% of their trade imports from the UK covering capital, raw materials and intermediate goods up to 2022.

Minister Mutsvangwa however said Zimbabwe would not be a dumping ground for British goods and products.

Cereals, beverages, paper, plastics, rubber, textiles and clothing, footwear, glass and ceramics, consumer electronics and vehicles will be excluded from the trade regime.