HomeBusiness DigestZNCC's adoption of Carnet project under threat

ZNCC’s adoption of Carnet project under threat

Ndamu Sandu

THE prevailing exchange control regulations are likely to scupper Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce’s (ZNCC) bid to adopt the stalled ATA Carnet project.

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

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

The service is available to business executives, exhibitors at trade fairs and travelling professionals.

Armed with the system sales representatives, exhibitors and other business executives can make customs arrangements at predetermined costs, visit more than one country, and use their Carnet system for trips during its one-year validity.

ZNCC chief executive officer Luckymore Zinyama told businessdigest this week that the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) was concerned whether exhibitors would be paid in forex.

“ICC have said that they are not happy with the exchange control regulations and want a guarantee that money held in Foreign Currency Accounts (FCA) would be accessed when need be and that it would not be converted into local currency,” he said.

Zinyama said it was difficult for Zimbabwe, currently experiencing foreign currency shortages to enter the chain.

“There is a shortage of foreign currency and there are priority areas determined by whoever is in control and in such a case, you have exposed yourself to the system,” Zinyama said.

He said ZNCC was still waiting for a letter of assurance from government guaranteeing that exhibitors would be allowed to remit their earnings in foreign currency.

“We wrote to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for a letter of support and we have not received a response,” he said.

This will be the second time ZNCC has failed to meet the requirements needed by ICC.

Last year World Chamber Fede-ration (WCF)/World ATA CarnetCouncil (WATAC) and ICC administrative director Alain Destouches dismissed the ZNCC application saying that a letter of support by government was inadequate.

Destouches said the letter received from ZNCC was not showing the name and title of the signatory at the bottom of the last page as requested.

“ICC does not know the person who has effectively signed these two documents as well as its legal position and business title in the Chamber,” he said.

Last year the Italian Corporation bankrolled a team of experts from the South Africa Chamber of Business (Sacob) to train ZNCC and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officials on how to use the system.

Each country in the system has a single guaranteeing body approved by the national customs authorities and the ICC World Chamber Federation.

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

World Customs Organisation administers the international customs convention under which ATA Carnets operate.

Within ICC World Chamber Federation, WATAC runs the system and its international guarantee chain.

The council is made up of representatives from all the 58 countries on territories where carnets are issued and accessed.

ATA Carnet system was necessitated by the need to encourage the free movement of goods for exhibition among member countries.

Custom duties are seen as an inhibiting factor to international trade.

Under the new system all that exhibitors needed was a certificate to be exempted from paying customs duty.

Zimbabwe would become the eighth country on the continent to use the ATA Carnet system after Mauritius, South Africa, Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Morocco and Tunisia if it completes the necessary requirements.

ZNCC would be the guarantor for the Carnet certificate holders in the event of defaults.

The Export Credit Guarantee Corporation, an arm of the central bank that is mandated to promote exports, would be the final guarantor.

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