COMESA Simplified Trade Regime

COMESA has come up with a simplified Customs Clearance procedure for its Member States that would be used by small scale cross border traders to facilitate easy import and export of their goods.

The simplified clearance procedure under COMESA is called the COMESA Simplified Trade Regime (STR).

Why is it necessary to implement the STR?

The COMESA Simplified Trade Regime has been introduced to solve the problems faced by small scale cross border traders such as:

  1. Lack of knowledge and information on the benefits of trading with other COMESA countries
  2. Complex documents and complicated processes of filling the current forms
  3. Increased clearance costs
  4. Delays in the clearing of goods and processing of tax refunds

The STR intends to overcome the above challenges by simplifying the whole process of clearing goods for small scale cross border traders by way of introducing:

  1. A simplified certificate of origin which should be signed and stamped by a ZIMRA official at the border post for all goods that appear on the Common List.
  2. A simplified customs document – traders are supposed to declare goods that appear on the Common List and duty is not payable on the declared goods.
  3. A common list of qualifying goods - The Common List will be gazetted by each member state and notified to the general public. Once gazetted, the Common List will also be displayed at all border posts within COMESA.

Who can use the STR?

It is used by small scale cross border traders importing or exporting goods from one COMESA Member State to the other. Travellers who do not have goods for sale should not use the Simplified Trade Regime.

When can it be used?

Where a small scale cross border trader is exporting goods valued at US$1000.00 or less per consignment he or she can use the STR. The goods should be listed on the COMESA STR Common List and should be for re-sale or use in the business.

How is it used?

For goods that have been grown or wholly produced in the COMESA Region and appear on the Common List, the trader will complete a simplified Customs Document (declaration form) and a simplified COMESA Certificate of Origin. These documents are filled in at the border post by the trader and are stamped and certified by a customs official. Goods imported and exported should comply with the normal food safety, plant and animal health regulations including environmental protection. Import or Export permits needed to import or export certain agricultural foods and animal products are still required. Some of the goods appearing on the Common list that qualify for preferential treatment are shown in the tables below;

Zambia and Zimbabwe                                                         Malawi and Zimbabwe

Product

HS Code

Potatoes

0701

Tomatoes

0702

Onions

0703

Cabbages

0704

Dried Vegetables

0712

Seeds

0713

Bananas

0803

Plastic Sacks and bags

3923-3929

Wood windows, doors

4418

Iron Sheets

7301

Product

HS Code

Potatoes

0701

Tomatoes

0702

Dried Beans

0713

Oranges

0805

Soya bean Oil

1507

Margarine

1517

Peanut butter

2008

Yeast

2102

Cement

2523

Freezit machines

833880

Candle making machines

841989

Ploughs and plough parts

8432.10 and 8432.90

Peanut butter making machines

8437.80

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STR List of eligible products MALAWI-ZIMBABWE

Product

HS Code

Live animals

Chapter 1 inclusive

Birds‟ eggs, in shell, fresh, preserved or cooked (or for hatching)

0407

Potatoes, fresh or chilled

0701

Tomatoes, fresh or chilled

0702

Onions, shallots, garlic, leeks

0703

Cabbages, cauliflowers, etc.

0704

Lettuce

0705

Carrots, turnips, salad beetroot, and other edible roots

0706

Cucumbers and gherkins

0707

Peas, beans and other legumes, fresh or chilled

0708

Other vegetables (asparagus, eggplant, celery, mushrooms, other)

0709

Dried vegetables (incl. mushrooms, wood ears, jelly fungi)

0712

Dried beans, chickpeas, lentils, including seeds for sowing(EXCLUDING SEEDS FOR SOWING)

0713

Seeds

0713

Bananas

0803

 

 

Please note that the above list is not exhaustive. A comprehensive list can be found from COMESA website or from the COMESA Trade Information Desk at the border posts implementing STR.

What are the advantages?

  1. COMESA rates of customs duty are applied on clearance of the goods.
  2. Fast clearance at the border posts.
  3. Reduced clearance costs.
  4. No need to smuggle your goods risking your life and goods.
 
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