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Zimbabwe: Measure to Curb Textile Dumping to Be Introduced

(Apr. 12, 2012) In a new policy in force from late March 2012, the Government of Zimbabwe is working to improve the country's textile industry. Measures will be introduced to reduce the “dumping” of textile products, including clothes (usually by under-pricing of the goods), in the country's market. Customs duties on textile imports and the duty-free amounts allowed for individuals entering the country will be reviewed. The local textile industry has suffered due to competition from goods brought in from Botswana, China, and South Africa; laxity of controls at the borders has meant that customs duties are not always paid. (Martin Kadzere, Government Moves to Revive Textile Industry, THE HERALD ONLINE (Apr. 4, 2012).)

Speaking about the need to review customs policies, Welshman Ncube, the Industry and Commerce Minister, stated that quality standards would also be enforced, together with shipment inspections, “in accordance with World Trade Organisation provisions.” (Id.) He added that “[c]hecks will also be conducted on the authenticity of certificates of origin and clothing and blankets in transit to ensure they do not end up offloaded in Zimbabwe.” (Id.)

Ncube also said Zimbabwe would be seeking a relaxation of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) rule of origin, a standard for establishing whether goods can participate in duty-free access in the region. Loosening the requirements could help the development of the domestic industry. The rule currently calls for textiles to be made in the country and also to be made from fabric produced in one of the nations in the region. (Id.) SADC's goal is to promote economic integration; it has 15 members: Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. (About SADC (last visited Apr. 9, 2012).)

The textile sector in Zimbabwe has shrunk in recent years and now employs only 3,000 people, compared with about 18,000 in the 1990s. In addition to possible dumping of cheaper foreign textiles in the market, high operating costs and interest rates, together with out-of-date equipment and unreliable infrastructure, are cited as causes for the decline. (Kadzere, supra.)