By Nation Reporter
GOVERNMENT says it will consider increasing taxes on imports from Zimbabwe to create a level playing field after Harare restricted its imports.
Commerce minister Margaret Mwanakatwe who confirmed the development in Lusaka yesterday, however, said this would be done in accordance with trade protocols within the SADC and COMESA regions.
In an interview with the Daily Nation, Ms Mwanakatwe said she had received several requests from different companies asking her to increase taxes on imports from Zimbabwe.
She said Government would consider increasing taxes from Zimbabwe to protect local industries from being exploited.
“I have received several requests from industries asking me to increase taxes. I am happy to do that, so we have to protect our industry but I must follow the procedure and the rules of the club that I belong to, it is simple procedure and I can do that.
“We have done that for Zambia a couple of times but we should not just behave as though we can just miraculously decide on some of these things,” she said.
She, however, mentioned that Government would have to follow trade procedure and rules in the COMESA and SADC regions when increasing the taxes.
“We belong to regional groupings, there are rules and regulations so if you want to stay in that club, you need to assess the rules.
“We belong to the club of COMESA and SADC and we must follow those procedures. You do not just wake up and say I am going to impose a ban. You should never do that, so it should be taken up at COMESA and SADC level so that Zimbabwe would be able to behave accordingly,” she said.
Ms Mwanakatwe said Zimbabwe should have followed those trade procedures in the two regions before imposing a ban on imports because they breached the rules for trade.
“If you are going to break away from the rules, there is a process that you need to follow; we have very clear policy in what to do when trading.
“We have a very clear policy on what is an instant industry and how a country should protect itself. The definition of an instant industry is, if your country is being invaded by, for example, dumping, you protect that dumping but there is a process to follow by members of the club,” she said.