Zambia is still grappling about its dual membership of belonging to both the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Southern Africa Development Committee (SADC) ahead of the SADC summit set for August this year.

Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary Davidson Chilipamushi said here Monday that the government is actively studying a report by stakeholders on the matter.

Chilipamushi said the nation would be informed about Zambia’s official stance after the consultative process has been exhaustively concluded.

Early this year, Chilipamushi had said the government would make its position known by the end of last month after consultations with various key stakeholders.

SADC and COMESA members that subscribe to both regional bodies are faced with a tough decision to make a stance on which body to continue their membership in light of duplication and intertwined trade issues.

Zambia belongs to both SADC and COMESA, and the two regional bodies are keen on establishing customs unions.

Among the many thorny issues is that according to the World Trade Organization (WTO) rule, no member country should belong to two customs unions.

COMESA wants to turn its Free Trade Area launched on Oct. 1, 2000 into a customs union in 2008 while SADC plans to have a customs union of its own in 2010.

Plans are also afoot that SADC’s customs union be followed by a common market by 2015 and an economic and monetary union by 2018. Similarly, COMESA intends to introduce a central bank and a single currency at the same time framework.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. This is a no brainer. They even have to be consult over this one? Kamani imwe, where do most Zambians do their trade? Which flights are always fully booked with Zambians traders? Which buses are always full with Zambian traders? It’s those going south. Comesa has a bigger market but how many Zambians go to Egypt to sell or buy things from there? I hope you wont be silly in the name of trying to collect more taxes from the poor zambians and choose COMESA. Zambians largely trade in the SADC and both organisations offer the same benefits. Lets stay in SADC.

    Oh, by the way you know that every Zambia pays tax(VAT), right? Even my grandmother at 80 still pays VAT every time she buys anything! Please, stop this nonsense talk of widening the tax net and just tax the mines. So keep us in COMESA so in future we don’t pay duty tax on cell phones from the south. Do the right thing for a common man for once. You have failed to provide us with jobs and we are all traders now.

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  2. There is nothing wrong to belong to both. Forinstance, Tanzania belong to ECA and SADC. So why not Zambia? After all COMESA Head quarter is in Lusaka and soon the chairmanship of SADC will come to Levy this August. Please keep your oxygen over this issue.

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  3. Hey Sam, WTO rules clearly state that no member country can belong to two customs Unions. Right now it is not an issue, but looking in future you can see that both COMESA & SADC agendas are going to form customs unions and Zambia would have to choose. This is a debate about the future implications. ECA is not forming a customs Union and single currency ..I think take in more oxygen on this one..it’s not as simple as you make it seem

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  4. SACU clinched a deal in trading with USA two years ago. The member states are RSA, Nambia, Botswana, Lesotho and Swanziland. Thus, 80% of SADC members are part of SACU. So Chanda Phiri what are you telling me about WTO? ECA and PTA (now COMESA)had one currency called UPUTA. Chanda, blocking systems are not there for piece or prestige but mainly for trading. In West Africa there is ECOWAS, East Africa ECA, Southern Africa SADC and North Africa NATF. Therefore, within these blocking systems there are trading unions that are flexible making states to overlap in trading. Now listen carefully Chanda, WTO has failed to control the imbalances in trading between USA and Europe, Afrca and Europe, The Tigers and USA. Do you know why? USA farmers are heavily sudsidised and hence making their export cheaper. Another example is Cote D’ivior, it produces coccoa and the price is determined by EU but when choccolate comes to Cote D’ivior it is very expensive. Come on Chanda don’t worry about Zambia.

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  5. wastage of time and money to be in more than two blocs,COMESA and SADC,afterall the WTO rule is broken here.tell me the benefits of COMESA to Tanzania

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