Malawi, WTO negotiating trade facilitation agreement

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Malawi is currently negotiating with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for a trade facilitation agreement that could improve transparency and certainty in trade.

Ministry of Industry and Trade Spokesperson Wiskes Nkombezi said on Wednesday trade facilitation is about making trade, both imports and exports, easier and less costly.

He said the facilitation looks at increasing customs productivity, improving tax collection at the border, limiting the scope of corruption and becoming more attractive to foreign direct investment.

“We are negotiating with WTO [for assistance] to improve transparency and predictability of trade and of doing business. The trade facilitation is also an excellent insurance policy for locking in domestic reforms which Malawi is already undertaking at national and regional levels,” he said.

Nkombezi said the agreement, if secured, could also attract more technical and financial assistance from other donor agencies for Malawi.

He observed that global value chains are also being pursued by the country to strengthen regional integration where there is potential for technological transfer and moving up the value chain by industries when producing goods.

“As a country, we are currently encouraging industries to add value to products with the view to attract better prices on the international markets,” he said.

Nkombezi said the removal of non-tariff measures among member states is another issue under discussion.

“The current scenarios, as tariffs are being decreased, non-tariff measures such as technical standards, health and safety requirements and other regulations now have a greater potential to be obstacles to trade,” he said.

Nkombezi said Malawi aims at enhancing trade policy endeavours as well as reducing supply-side constraints to integrate favourably in the multilateral trading system through the WTO trade facilitation.

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