THE Government in collaboration with the Cross Border Traders Association (CBTA) is currently implementing Simplified Trade Regime (STR) aimed at lessening the levels of smuggling at four border points of Zambia. The STR focuses on reducing the costs of doing business for small-scale cross border traders through reduction in time clearance as traders cross borders. Commerce, Trade and Industry ministry public relations officer Godfrida Chanda said the border points where STR would be employed included Victoria Falls, Kazungula, Mwami and Chirundu. Ms Chanda said the implementation of simplified trade formalities for small traders would allow them to enjoy duty free access with simplified documents. She said this in an interview in Lusaka yesterday. “My ministry in collaboration with the CBTA is currently implementing STR aimed at lessening the levels of smuggling at four border points of the country and simplifying border procedures for traders. “Further, the ministry, as a responsible institution for the co-ordination and implementation of all programmes pertaining to COMESA, undertook an assessment on the performance of the STRs where it is being implemented also find the possibility of its initiation in border posts not implementing it,” Ms Chanda said. She said this was because Zambia, being a member of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), recognized that the small-scale traders were responsible for the bulk of intra COMESA food trade, hence needed recognition and assistance to be able to participate more effectively in the Free Trade Area (FTA). Ms Chanda said this was also one of the COMESA mandates to fully integrate the countries of Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) into an economic union through trade and investment. “Additionally, during the assessment of STRs, one of the specific objectives achieved was to conduct stakeholders consultative and sensitization workshops on the Implementation of Trade Information Desks (TIDs) in Nakonde, Mpulungu and Luangwa with the aim to equip various stakeholders with knowledge on STRs and the role of TIDs,” she said CBTA was also running two TIDs in Mukambo and Kasumbalesa under the Trade for Peace COMESA Project. She said these desks were providing services to traders who were trading between Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) even though the bilateral trade agreement had been signed.