No-deal Brexit could cost Zimbabwe millions

A United Nations agency report has shown that Zimbabwe stands to lose at least 5% of its yearly exports to the United Kingdom in the case of Britain leaving the European Union without a deal.

According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, the country exported goods worth $3,045,963 last year, up from $1,349,211 in 2017. At the same time, Zimbabwe imported $226,18 million worth of goods, up 66,24% from the 2017 comparative of $136,05 million.

Zimbabwe’s exports to the UK include mange tout peas, oranges, fresh avocados, fresh peaches, fresh nectarines, fresh raspberries and passion fruit, among others.

An orderly Brexit would allow a transition period during which Britain would be allowed to renegotiate existing trade agreements while a no-deal Brexit means the UK would leave the EU with no agreements in place.

“A no-deal Brexit would significantly alter the market conditions in the United Kingdom both for developing and developed countries. In such a case, countries which were enjoying preference because of agreements (including other European Union countries) will find themselves in a disadvantageous position as they would then face the MFN (most favoured nation) tariffs,” reads The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report.

“On the other hand, countries that were facing relatively higher tariffs would benefit both because of possibly lower MFN tariffs and the fact that many competitors would be taxed at the same rate… Although it is expected that the United Kingdom will continue to provide duty-free access to LDCs (low developing countries), one concern for such countries would be the retention of competitiveness in the event of lower MFN tariffs.”

“Ultimately, third countries’ exports to the United Kingdom will depend on the stance of the trade regime that the United Kingdom will adopt both in relation to countries that currently enjoy preferences in the European Union markets and on the MFN tariffs the United Kingdom will adopt. As of now, many developing countries’ exports enjoy very favourable market access conditions to the United Kingdom markets, largely because of bilateral trade agreements and because of European Union unilateral preferential schemes. Of immediate concern is whether these conditions would be carried over once Brexit is realised,” the report added.

Africa represents 2% of British trade activity, which amounted to $680 billion in 2018.