By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
ZAMBIA needs to reinforce its competition and anti-dumping laws to ensure that the liberalisation of the markets does not bring rise to anticompetitive practices by foreign players as it participates in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Reinforcing such laws will protect the country from the dumping of substandard or unwanted goods into the market, says Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) Researcher – Trade and Development, Tawila Anamela.
Mr Anamela in a statement yesterday reminded industry players that the opening of local markets to the entire continent would have a strain on the infant industries.
He explained that this was because producers from more efficient and/or developed countries would now have free access to the local market, meaning industries would be required to compete with products and services that benefited from better economies of scale.
“To the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and other local industry players, there must be a deliberate action to consider appropriate business strategies that will ensure the survival of their businesses, such as strategic partnerships and Joint venture initiatives that will allow them to focus on their competitive or comparative advantages,” Mr Anamela said.
He also observed the need to enhance awareness campaigns on market access and quality standards required by regional and international markets.
The Researcher indicated that it was apparent that creating a continent-wide market would require a determined effort to reduce all trade costs.
This, he said, would require legislation and regulations to enable the free flow of goods, capital and information across borders, create competitive business environments that can boost productivity and investment.
Mr Anamela further said it would also require promotion of increased foreign competition and foreign direct investment that can raise productivity and innovation by domestic firms.
“As the negotiations for the AfCFTA are drawing closer to conclusion and the enforcement of the entire agreement is evidently inevitable in the near future.
“It is imperative that we understand what this Agreement is and the opportunities it will bring, in addition to the avenues we must use to ensure that our industries are well positioned to benefit from the regional and continental markets without being disadvantaged,” he said.