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Zimbabwe, South Africa to boost trade ties

Staff writer |
Zimbabwe and South Africa will soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen trade and industrial relations, Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha has said.

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"This framework is expected to further strengthen trade and industrial relations between our two countries. South African business people should take advantage of this framework to explore investment opportunities in Zimbabwe," Minister Bimha said.

The Industry and Commerce Minister said this while addressing delegates to a Zimbabwe Trade and Investment executive breakfast meeting hosted by The Herald Business in Johannesburg last Friday. The minister said the governments of Zimbabwe and South Africa were committed to promoting industrial co-operation, hence the initiative to come up with a MoU.

Minister Bimha said SA investments were safe in Zimbabwe, covered by a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA)between the two countries, ratified in 2009.

The efforts to attract investment from South Africa follow a similar initiative in September when Government and the South African Embassy organised a mini-investment conference to look at projects in the infrastructure sector.

"This continuous interaction continues to strengthen our already good trade and economic relations and I applaud this," Minister Bimha told delegates. The minister was presenting on "Building Bridges for Trade and Industry Between Zimbabwe and South Africa and Trade Opportunities for the Zimbabwean Diaspora".

South Africa is Zimbabwe's biggest trading partner. "South Africa exported to Zimbabwe goods and services amounting $2,26 billion and imported goods to the tune of $1,58 billion," Minister Bimha said.

"However, trade is still in favour of South Africa as the business people here are able to export to Zimbabwe cheaper than their counterparts, as they enjoy production volumes and are able to offer very long credit terms of payment," he said.

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