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Government of Zambia launches new Trade Information Portal

The Government of Zambia has recently launched the Zambia Trade Information Portal (ZTIP), a one-stop platform gathering all information relating to import and export into and out of Zambia and transit through the country. The portal is hosted by the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry (MCTI) in conjunction with Smart Zambia Institute (SZI).

Trade Information Portals are an information technology tool providing traders with the necessary information on trade procedures for import, export and transit. Article 1.2.1 of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) stipulates that: “Each Member shall make available, and update to the extent possible and as appropriate, the following through the internet: (a) a description of its procedures for importation, exportation, and transit, including procedures for appeal or review, that informs governments, traders, and other interested parties of the practical steps needed for importation, exportation, and transit; (b) the forms and documents required for importation into, exportation from, or transit through the territory of that Member; (c) contact information on its enquiry point(s)”. Even though article 1.2.1 TFA does not expressly mentions trade information portals, these tools represent today the prevalent modality with which WTO members implement the aforementioned provision embedded in Article 1.2.1 TFA.

Moreover, Art. 1.2.3. TFA encourages Members to make available further trade-related information through the internet, including relevant trade-related legislation and other items referred to: procedures for importation, exportation, and transit and required forms and documents; applied rates of duties and taxes of any kind imposed on or in connection with importation or exportation; fees and charges imposed by or for governmental agencies on or in connection with importation, exportation or transit; rules for the classification or valuation of products for customs purposes; laws, regulations, and administrative rulings of general application relating to rules of origin; import, export or transit restrictions or prohibitions; penalty provisions for breaches of import, export, or transit formalities; procedures for appeal or review; agreements or parts thereof with any country or countries relating to importation, exportation, or transit; and procedures relating to the administration of tariff quotas.

The ZTIP allows traders to get information about all the regulatory requirements they need to comply with in order to carry out their transactions. In some cases, the portal also contains soft copies of the necessary forms that traders are required to complete and submit to a relevant government agency whether electronically or physically. In addition, the ZTIP contains regulatory requirements enforced by various government agencies.

Agencies represented on the trade portal include the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Tourism and Arts, the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Agency, the Zambia Revenue Authority (including the Customs Services Division) and the Zambia Compulsory Standards Agency.

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