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NMA seeks fair trade within Sacu

The Namibian, Windhoek

NMA seeks fair trade within Sacu

Tonderai Katswara

5 March 2007

The Namibian Manufacturers’ Association (NMA) has spoken out against competition issues and unfair trade practices in the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu).

In its latest newsletter, NMA Chairman Koos Ferreira said competition issues between member states had not been addressed appropriately within Sacu, hence Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho were currently preparing an annex to the Sacu agreement to address these matters.

"NMA members are aware of the fact that anti-competitive practices and unfair trade practices, such as dumping from other Sacu member states, have been a problem for many manufacturers in Namibia," he said.

Namibia has a Competition Act, but it is yet to be implemented.

Ferreira also urged local manufacturers to familiarise themselves with prices being charged for their products by the various retailers around the country and also in neighbouring South Africa.

"If such comparisons are done on a regular basis, dumping can also easily be ascertained and proven, if necessary," he said, adding that manufacturers should always be aware of prices charged by competitors for similar products.

Ferreira also touched on the recently released European Union response to SADC’s proposal (submitted in March last year), which stated that the EU would not extend its Cotonou trade preferences beyond 2007.

The NMA Chairman said Namibia should work together with other SADC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) countries and together act quickly to have in place a trade framework agreement in place by year-end or risk severe trade disruptions with the EU.

On the local front, Ferreira said the NMA was undertaking road shows around the country to determine which challenges manufacturers across the country were facing.

So far 20 manufacturers have been visited in the north and 25 in the west.