BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
ZIMBABWE stands to lose at least 5% of its yearly exports to the United Kingdom in the case of Britain leaving the European Union without a deal, a new United Nations agency report has shown.
According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, the country exported goods worth US$3 045 963 last year up from US$1 349 211 in 2017, while Zimbabwe imported US$226,18 million worth of goods, up 66,24% from the 2017 comparative of US$136,05 million.
Zimbabwe’s exports to the UK include diamonds, mange tout peas, black fermented tea, oranges, unmanufactured tobacco, fresh avocados, sculptures, fresh peaches, fresh nectarines, fresh raspberries and passion fruit, among others.
An orderly Brexit would allow a transition period during which Britain would be allowed to renegotiate existing trade agreements while a no-deal Brexit means the UK would leave the EU with no agreements in place.
“A no-deal Brexit would significantly alter the market conditions in the United Kingdom both for developing and developed countries.
“In such a case, countries which were enjoying preference because of agreements (including other European Union countries) will find themselves in a disadvantageous position as they would then face the MFN (most favoured nation) tariffs,” reads the The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report.
“On the other hand, countries that were facing relatively higher tariffs would benefit both because of possibly lower MFN tariffs and the fact that many competitors would be taxed at the same rate…
“Although it is expected that the United Kingdom will continue to provide duty-free access to LDCs (low developing countries), one concern for such countries would be the retention of competitiveness in the event of lower MFN tariffs.”
The UK has already stated its desire to seek replication of EU trade concessions and to pursue bilateral agreements to replace those of the EU.
“It is important to emphasise that while a no-deal Brexit would have immediate repercussions for many developing countries’ exports, significant concerns remain even in the case of a more orderly Brexit.
“Ultimately, third countries’ exports to the United Kingdom will depend on the stance of the trade regime that the United Kingdom will adopt both in relation to countries that currently enjoy preferences in the European Union markets and on the MFN tariffs the United Kingdom will adopt.
“As of now, many developing countries’ exports enjoy very favourable market access conditions to the United Kingdom markets, largely because of bilateral trade agreements and because of European Union unilateral preferential schemes. Of immediate concern is whether these conditions would be carried over once Brexit is realised,” the report added.
Africa represents 2% of British trade activity, which amounted to $680 billion in 2018.
Britain’s government and parliament remain deadlocked over Brexit. Long scheduled for March 29, it was delayed last month until October 31, this year.