The private sector in Zambia has commended China over its decision to grant zero-tariff status to some least developed countries (LDCs), saying it would increase trade opportunities for Zambians.
“As the private sector in Zambia, we welcome the move because any opportunities that opens up trade for us means increasing our trading opportunities,” Yusuf Dodia, the chairperson of the Private Sector Development Association (PSDA), told Xinhua in a telephone interview.
He said the move will allow countries such as Zambia broaden its trading capacity and expand the capacity to export products.
During the recently concluded G-20 summit in Cannes and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Honolulu, Chinese President Hu Jintao announced that China would give duty- free status to 97 percent of the tariff items of exports to China from the LDCs, provided they have diplomatic relations with China.
While acknowledging that China has become one of Zambia’s largest trading partners, Dodia said the move will allow Zambia to enhance its exports to China, a situation that will result in the country’s economy growing even further.
“For Zambia, this is an opportunity to expand markets for our exports. It will increase our bilateral trade with China,” he said.
According to the PSDA, Zambia’s trade in the last 10 years has been dominated by the European Union with 50 percent while China is at 20 percent, with the rest shared by other countries.
He said it was encouraging that unlike other trading partners, China’s initiative was based on a win-win situation, saying China was providing a platform for developing nations to have a larger share of the global trade.
Dodia also said that local firms, especially small ones, will have to improve their production in order to satisfy the large market in China, adding that small firms usually face supply side constraints.
Moidela Samual, owner of a medium-sized trade company in Lusaka, told Xinhua that he was encouraged by the duty free decision and planned to implement more export contracts with his Chinese partners.
Samual said his company started to export local products, mostly agricultural goods and handicraft works, to China’s Guangdong Province several years ago. But the sale is small and not profitable because the transportation cost is high and the customer tax system is complicated.
According to the businessman, his company has so far only carried out not more than 20 contracts to China. Most of his good were exported to South Asian countries.
“Although China is already a matured market, Zambians still do not have rich business experience there and the export to far area is very expensive to us,” he said.
Cost is very important element to an export company, Samual told Xinhua, adding that if China implements duty free policy, the market will be more attractive to business people here.
“I am waiting for the concrete implementation of the policy,” he said, “Maybe I should prepare something for the market, such as export of Zambian coffee and copper paintings,” he added.