Friday, July 20, 2007

European trade barriers are falling!

Switzerland is leading the way in removing tariffs and quotas on trade with Tanzania. At the same time, they are helping to build trade capacity within the country by funding local trade development programs.

These initiatives will help overcome two trade barriers –
  • the restrictions of tariffs and quotas
  • the barriers formed by food quality standards

This is part of the new wave of assistance and economic restructuring that will lift some African countries out of grinding poverty. This is the future that the kids at St Jude’s will inherit.

The Swiss government has removed all tariffs and quotas standing in the way of Tanzanian exports destined for Switzerland. The new regulations came into force in April 2007, and are expected to benefit a wide range of Tanzanian businesses trading in products such as flowers, cashew nuts and fish.

The capacity building programs include support to the cashew and coffee sectors at farmer level and assistance in boosting the processing sector for the crops, the aim being to increase the value of the exported products. Technical assistance is also being provided to the Tanzania Bureau of Standards to enhance its capacity for testing systems in line with internationally accepted standards, as it certifies potential export products.

A statement from the Swiss embassy in Tanzania noted:

The introduction of this zero duty initiative does not affect the requirement for Tanzanian exporters to satisfy Swiss product quality standards.

These measures show that Western countries now have a better understanding of the complexities of aid and economic development. Tariffs and quotas are not the only barriers to trade, so development aid is being given to build producer capacity and improve local governance so Tanzanian produce meets the requirements of European markets.

I hope to see a lot more initiatives like this over the coming months and years. We're seeing the will and the knowledge to make a difference at the individual level and at the systemic level.

Subscribe with Bloglines
Click here to subscribe to this blog.

No comments: