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.