Swazi Observer, Swaziland
COMESA, SACU-main vehicles for trade
By Bongile Mavuso
3 October 2006
The Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce (FSE & CC) has commended the country for its alignment with economic groupings for access to international trade.
President of the organisation Zakes Nkosi, said such economic formations as the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the South African Customs Union (SACU) have become main vehicles for trade.
“A number of our members have enjoyed access to bigger markets and organised systems within these arrangements. We are impressed that even today, most of the initiatives being taken are aimed at improving the well being of the business community, both large and small,” he said.
Nkosi said as employees, they were keenly following the progression of COMESA into a Free Trade Area (FTA), which has seen about 13 member States phasing down their tariffs, with effect from this month.
He stated that trade within COMESA FTA had doubled since 2000 to reach 7.5 million US Dollars last year. “We expect even greater benefits when all trade barriers are eradicated, thereby integrating trade and investment regimes within the region,” he added.
Nkosi appreciated COMESA’s decision to afford Swaziland a two year derogation from participating in the FTA since the country could not get concurrence from SACU member States to do so.
He said as business, their position was that the more access they have to markets, the better.
Meanwhile, Nkosi applauded the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for the increased consultations and information flow to the FSE & CC.
He stated that this was a positive move since the private sector were the most affected by trade pacts government entered into with trading partners.
He stressed that the private sector plays an important role in a country’s economic development, as even developed countries under the European Union have recognised the role they play in economic partnership agreement negotiations.
Nkosi was speaking during a National seminar on COMESA programmes held at Royal Swazi Sun last week.