ZIMBABWE’S trade development and promotion organisation ZimTrade is building a Trade Information Portal (TIP) with the assistance of European Union (EU)-funded Trade and Private Sector Development Programme (TPSDP).
The TIP, which is an on-line platform that is an upgrade from a website and provides a single point of access for trade, investment and economic related information, will be launched by March 2016.
It is a first step towards the introduction of a national electronic single window, a trade facilitation concept whose implementation allows traders to simultaneously submit information requirements for trade regulatory documents, such as customs declarations, applications for import and export permits, certificates of origin and trading invoices, through a single online portal.
ZimTrade will be working closely with, CITC-Investment and Trade Consultants, a developer domiciled in Mauritius.
The team of consultants was in the country last month for consultative meetings with ZimTrade.
CITC senior consultant Dev Chamroo told the Zimbabwe Independent that the TIP will build capacity for ZimTrade and will enhance visibility of Zimbabwe as an investment and trade destination as various industries will be promoted through the portal.
“Having an information trade portal is a dream for any country as it is flexible and enhances the country’s image internationally in terms of promoting its products for exports and in short it is trade made easy,” said Chamroo.
ZimTrade chief executive Sithembile Pilime said the portal will offer access to market intelligence, current trade news as well information on trade regulations, duties, taxes, shipment documents and any other services that facilitate trade.
“The target audience for the TIP includes current and potential Zimbabwean exporters, current and potential foreign business partners, public authorities, business consultants and investors,” she said.
“The TIP will also host the ZimTrade virtual library that provides value-added and timely business information to stakeholders.”
Pilime said one of the most important components of the TIP is the Zimbabwe-EU Business Information Centre (Zim-EBIC), which provides official market information such as preferential arrangements for exporting to the EU under the interim Economic Partnership Agreement.
The International Trade Centre’s Market Analysis Tools (Trade Map, Access Map, Standards Map) will also be featured in the portal.
“EU chose ZimTrade for the portal as it was the most suitable organisation to provide trade intelligence on international markets to both local and foreign business people,” said Pilime.
According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency the country’s trade deficit in the nine months to September stood at US$2,3 billion after imports of US$4 billion and exports of $1,7 billion, with the deficit seen at US$3 billion by year end.-Hazel Ndebele