TRADE and Industry Minister Rob Davies will meet his Zimbabwean counterpart Mike Bimha on Thursday to discuss the country’s unilateral ban on South African exports.

The consultation would aim for an “amicable resolution” to the prohibition, and would seek to ensure Zimbabwe’s commitments under World Trade Organisation and Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocols, the Department of Trade and Industry said in a statement.

Zimbabwe introduced restrictive trade measures, including a ban on South African imports and extra tax duties on its exporters, in July. It claimed the measures were necessary to protect local industry.

Included on the import ban list were: cosmetics, cereals, coffee creamer, mayonnaise, cheese, canned fruits and vegetables, second-hand tyres, iron and steel products, furniture and woven cotton fabrics.

The move came as a surprise to the South African government, which has undertaken to address the issue at a technical level.

“The ministers will, in their discussions, take into account Zimbabwe’s industrial development and balance of payments challenges,” the DTI said in its statement.

The Zimbabwean government faces a cash-flow crisis which has resulted in delayed payment to state employees. In July, it was hit by a crippling public servants’ strike and violent protests, which led to the closure of businesses and the country’s transport system.

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