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ZNCC engages RBZ yet again

Ndamu Sandu

THE Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) has engaged the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in discussions on the adoption of the ATA Carnet system.

The ATA Carnet system is an international customs document that permits duty-free and tax exemption on temporary import of goods for up to one year.

ATA Carnet covers commercial samples, professional equipment and goods for presentation or use at trade fairs, shows and exhibitions.

The ZNCC is optimistic that Zimbabwe will be a member of the ATA Carnet before the 46th
edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).

ZNCC acting chief executive officer Cain Mpofu said the chamber held talks with the central bank to get an undertaking that the RBZ would avail forex to its arm, the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC).

Under the proposal, the ECGC will be the final guarantor of the imported goods.

Assuming an exhibitor sells his products and defaults on paying customs duties, the ECGC will pay in hard currency as the guarantor.

“Our discussions on the table were positive
and the Reserve Bank wanted the ZNCC to give details that will not prejudice the country,” Mpofu said.

Under the ATA Carnet system, members are exempted from paying customs duties if they are showcasing their products in another country that uses the system.

However, when a member country sells its products, it has to pay the duty to the relevant customs authorities where exhibition takes place.

Mpofu said the meeting with central bank officials was to get an undertaking that the RBZ would be in a position to release forex in the event that there were defaults in paying customs duties.

The guarantee by the RBZ forms part of the requirements needed for Zimbabwe to join the ATA Carnet family.

The World Chambers Federation (WCF), a division of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris, with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in Brussels, administers the Carnet System worldwide.

The ATA Carnet system was necessitated by the need to encourage free movement of goods for exhibition among member countries. Customs duties are seen as an inhibiting factor in trade.

Under the new system, all that exhibitors need is a certificate to be exempt from paying customs duty. Each country in the system has a single guaranteeing body approved by the national customs authorities and the ICC World Chambers Federation.

The national guaranteeing association is entitled to issue carnets and authorise local chambers
on the national territory to deliver them on their behalf.

If Zimbabwe completes the necessary documentation, it will join nine other African countries in the chain. African countries that are in the family include Botswana, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Morocco, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland and Tunisia.

Mpofu said once given the undertaking by the central bank, ZNCC would submit the undertaking to ICC.

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