Domestic and Foreign Market Access

Overview: Trade Policy and Business Environment

 The Republic of Zimbabwe is classified as a low-income country. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Enabling Trade Index (2012), which measures institutions, policies and services to facilitate trade in countries, the country was ranked 128th out of 132 countries, recording the 4th from the bottom. After its trade liberalization in the 1990s, Zimbabwe is mostly hampered by import restrictions and restricted access to the services market, and is dependent on the export of minerals to China and the imports of energy and consumption goods from South Africa. The country had suffered from the highest inflation rates worldwide until the government abolished the Zimbabwe dollar and adopted a multi-currency system in early 2009. Such measure has so far improved price stability and restarted financial intermediation, resulting in the first economic growth in years. Contained in its draft of National Trade Policy 2011-15, Zimbabwe's trade policy objectives are to elevate trade as the engine for sustainable economic growth and development, and to stimulate the productive sectors of the economy towards higher productivity, efficiency, and international competitiveness.

WEF, 2012, Global Enabling Trade Report
WTO, 2011, Trade Policy Review (Zimbabwe)
Bertelsmann Stiftung, 2012, Country Report (Zimbabwe)

INDICATOR, UNITS RANK/132 SCORE
Domestic Market Access The pillar assesses the level and complexity of a country’s tariff protection as a result of its trade policy. This component includes the effective trade-weighted average tariff applied by a country, the share of goods imported duty free and the complexity of the tariff regime, measured through tariff variance, the prevalence of tariff peaks and specific tariffs, and the number of distinct tariffs. 137 2.43
Foreign Market Access The pillar assesses tariff barriers faced by a country’s exporters in destination markets. It includes the average tariffs faced by the country as well as the margin of preference in destination markets negotiated through bilateral or regional trade agreements or granted in the form of trade preferences. 48 3.17
Tariff rate (%) This indicator is calculated as a trade-weighted average of all the applied tariff rates, including preferential rates that a country applies to the rest of the world. The weights are the trade patterns of the importing country’s reference group (2012 data). An applied tariff is a customs duty that is levied on imports of merchandise goods. 136 21.03
Complexity of tariffs , index 1-7 (best) This indicator is calculated as the average of the following indicators: Tariff dispersion, Specific tariffs and Number of distinct tariffs. See description of each individual indicator for more details. Prior to averaging, values for each indicator were transformed to a 1–7 score, using the min-max method. 105 4.12
Tariffs dispersion (standard deviation) This indicator reflects differences in tariffs across product categories in a country’s tariff structure. The variance is calculated across all the tariffs on imported merchandise goods, at the 6-digit level of the Harmonized Schedule. 133 28.17
Tariffs peaks (%) This indicator is the ratio of the number of tariff lines exceeding three times the average domestic tariff (across all products) to the MFN (most-favoured nation) tariff schedule. The tariff schedule is equal to the total number of tariff lines for each country. These tariffs are revised on a yearly basis. 80 6.57
Specific tariffs (%) This indicator is the ratio of the number of Harmonized System (HS) tariff lines, with at least one specific tariff, to the total number of HS tariff lines. A specific tariff is a tariff rate charged on fixed amount per quantity (as opposed to ad valorem) 104 6.91
Number of distinct tariffs This indicator reflects the number of distinct tariff rates applied by a country to its imports across all sectors. 100 432.00
Share of duty-free imports (%) Share of trade, excluding petroleum, that is imported free of tariff duties, taking into account MFN tariffs and preferential agreements. Tariff data is from 2013 or most recent year available and imports data is from 2012 116 19.32
Tariffs faced (%) This indicator is calculated as the trade-weighted average of the applied tariff rates, including preferential rates that the rest of the world applies to each country. The weights are the trade patterns of the importing country’s reference group (2012 data). A tariff is a customs duty that is levied by the destination country on imports of merchandise goods 111 5.59
Index of margin of preference in destination markets, 0-100 (best) This indicator measures the percentage by which particular imports from one country are subject to lower tariffs than the MFN rate. It is calculated as the average of two components: 1) the trade-weighted average difference between the MFN tariff and the most advantageous preferential duty (advantage score), and 2) the ratio of the advantage score to the trade-weighted average MFN tariff level. This allows capturing both the absolute and the relative margin of preference. 20 55.67
Source : WEF, 2014, Global Enabling Trade Report

Trade Policy and Market Access

Zimbabwe is a founding Member to the WTO since 1995. Its simple average MFN tariff is 17.8 per cent in 2012. While average tariffs on most agricultural and non-agricultural products range between 6 per cent and 33 per cent, beverages together with tobacco, and clothing have exceptionally high average tariffs, which are 47.6 per cent and 88.2 per cent respectively (WTO 2012). Semi-processed products are subject to a lower average applied rate than raw materials, whereas fully-processed products attract the highest average applied rate. Zimbabwe is a member of the African Economic Community (AEC), and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), which aim to create a customs union and common external tariffs. Moreover, Zimbabwe has benefitted from the GSP scheme of several countries. Despite being an original beneficiary, it has been excluded from the U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The negotiations for Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU are on-going (WTO 2011).

WTO, 2012, Tariff Profile (Zimbabwe)

WTO, 2011, Trade Policy Review (Zimbabwe)

Standard Compliance and Other Relevant Import/Export Restrictions

The Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ), a non-governmental and non-profit organization, is the national standards body. Its core mission is to coordinate standardization activities in Zimbabwe and to publish national standards. However, responsibility for preparing standards and technical regulations lies with government authorities, which may or may not involve SAZ in the process. The SAZ is also involved in the harmonization of policies and standards at the regional level, in the framework of both COMESA and Southern African Development Community. Moreover, under Zimbabwe's sanitary and phytosanitary regime, imports of a range of goods are subject to non-automatic licensing, often involving more than one competent authority. The importer is responsible for obtaining all requisite documents and providing the originals for customs clearance. However, animals, animal products, and infectious things are not subject to controls if in transit by either rail or air (unless they have passed through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, or Zambia). An import permit is required for all growing media, living invertebrate, seeds, plants, and plant products entering Zimbabwe.  

WTO, 2011, Trade Policy Review (Zimbabwe)