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South Africa and Zimbabwe have created administrative difficulties preventing Mozambican companies from exporting their products under the SADC Protocol, Minister Ragendra de Sousa told @Verdade, and our country is considering retaliating. “We have this weapon, which is our geographical location (…) One of these days, that colleague of mine at the border will catch malaria and not open the border for three days,” he said.
In 2016, a Mozambican soft drink brand under the Southern African Communities (SADC) Trade Protocol started exporting to Malawi where, thanks to the low price, it was able to position itself in the local market, becoming an alternative to soft drinks produced in the neighbouring country.
In a blatant violation of the SADC Free Trade Protocol, which has been in force since 2000, the Malawian authorities, claiming excess chemicals in the soda, banned the drink.
The ban was lifted in 2017 after the intervention of the Government of Mozambique and after the company proved its soft drink was of the necessary quality, but on Monday (July 22) the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Ragendra de Sousa, revealed that, “when nothing seemed to work, my countrymen (alluding to the border guards between Mozambique and Malawi) forgot to open the border for two hours, immediately after which it was raining phone calls and delegations”.
Nowadays, made-in-Mozambique pasta, tubes and even beer are facing “gimmicks” in their bid to enter South Africa and Zimbabwe. The Minister of Industry and Commerce told Mozambican industrialists during a sector reflection seminar in Maputo that, after noting on the spot the obstacles raised on the South African border, an agreement was signed to reinforce free trade, but “the minister in South Africa has changed. I am waiting for my colleague to tell me when he’s coming here – or else I am going there”.
With regard to Zimbabwe, Ragendra de Sousa revealed that President Emmerson Mnangagwa was informed directly about malpractice in his country. “I jokingly said ‘Mr President, you know that my border colleague is going to get malaria and won’t open the border for three days,’ and he got the message.”
The Minister of Industry and Commerce emphasised that Mozambique had “this weapon, which is our geographical location”, and warned that “if they stick to the strategy of not using the law and using mechanisms, we will do the same”.
By Adérito CaldeiraSource: A Verdade
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