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Zimbabwe braces for new EU export reg system

by Staff reporter
28 Dec 2020 at 07:22hrs | Views
ZIMBABWEAN exporters are pondering on the new European Union (EU) digital system of certification of origin for goods, which comes into effect next month.

The EU has introduced a new system of certification of origin of goods called the Registered Exporter System (REX system) in line with the digital revolution.

The country's trade development and promotion agency, ZimTrade, says the paperless system provides a form of export process reform meant to reduce time into market by making the process of self-certification very simple, easy and convenient as long as one has access to the internet anywhere on the globe.

The EU is a key trading partner to Zimbabwe although the volume of the country's exports into that continent remains lower.

For instance, in 2019 Zimbabwe exported goods worth over US$485 million to the EU. These included tobacco, minerals, hides and skins and horticulture products. The EU is also one of the key funders of the country's agriculture sector and offers a lucrative export window for local organic farm produce.

Zimbabwe also links closely with the EU under through the Eastern and Southern Africa-Economic Partnership Agreement (ESA-EPA) trade agreement, which grants duty free and quota free exports to the European single market.

According to ZimTrade, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) is spearheading the process. "All exporters are reminded that effective 1 January 2021, all countries exporting into the European Union will be required to have registered by then as the EU will only be accepting online certifi­cates of origin," said the agency.

"As such, all Zimbabwean exporters intending to export to the EU have a deadline of until 31 December 2020 to register. The EU is progressively introducing this system for its preferential trade agreements, which Zimbabwe is a party to."

Zimbabwe is a member of the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union, which presents access for the country to an economic bloc worth over €16,4 trillion in Gross Domestic Product (DGP) and over 400 million in population.

"As such, the EU economy is a key trading partner for Zimbabwe and the coming in of this new system for exporters can never be overemphasised," said ZimTrade.

"This system has been developed to serve EU members, Generalised System of Preferences bene­ficiary countries and overseas countries like Zimbabwe."

In its latest monthly newsletter issued last week, ZimTrade said the new system takes over from the old system and is based on a principle of self-certi­fication. This means that effective 1 January 2021, the origin of goods exported to the EU will be declared by economic operators (exporters) themselves, by means of the so-called statements on origin.

A statement on origin refers to a declaration of origin added by the registered exporter on the invoice or any other commercial document.

"It is also important to note that for one to be entitled to make out such a statement on origin, an economic operator (exporter) must be registered in a database by their competent authorities. The economic operator becomes a 'registered exporter'," said ZimTrade.

"In Zimbabwe, Zimra is the competent authority and as such is spearheading the implementation of the REX system and so too the registration process."

The trade agency advised exporters to apply for registration to Zimra and this is done by completion of the requisite application form that can be obtained at ZimTrade or Zimra offices.

Upon submission of the form to Zimra, applicants would then be registered after verification process for correctness and completeness of the applicants. Exporters are then allocated registration number (REX number).

"After registration, the exporter is issued a REX number which is a string of 35 alphanumerical characters, including a reference to the country of issue," said ZimTrade.

"It is important to note that unregistered exporters may still export to the EU and make out statements on origin. However, this is only possible for goods having a value which is below €6 000 as allowed by the trade agreement."

The agency has encouraged exporters to register in order to avoid any issues or challenges when the need arises to urgently register when one gets a bigger order, which would be valued higher than the allowable limit.

Source - chronicle
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