Trade Data Analysis

Zambia: Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile

Zambia: Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile

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This Trade Data Update provides an overview of Zambia’s intra-African trade relationships, both within the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and with other individual African countries; the top import and export products traded; and applicable tariffs. Data is sourced from the UN International Trade Centre (ITC) TradeMap and World Trade Organisation (WTO) Tariff databases. The update is accompanied by a visual representation of key data and trends in an infographic.

Intra-Africa trade

In 2017, Zambia exported and imported goods to the value of approximately US$1.5 billion and US$5 billion, respectively to and from the rest of Africa. Intra-Africa exports account for 19% of Zambia’s total exports and imports for 59% of total imports for 2017.

  • Zambia’s exports to the rest of Africa are quite diversified, with the top 10 making up less than 50% of total exports on the continent. Top export products are cane or beet sugar at 7.78% of total exports to the continent. Copper is also important, with copper wire at 5.58% of Zambia’s exports to the continent and refined copper at 2.95%. Maize and gold each make up more than 6% each of Zambia’s intra-African exports and other products include sulphuric acid, cobalt, and electricity.

  • Zambia imports almost 60% of its total imports from partners on the continent. The top imports are minerals – copper ore, and cobalt ores and oxides almost all of which are from neighbouring DRC. Oil is also important, accounting for 8.73% of imports and fertilisers (nitrogenous and others) around 8%. Frozen fish is also an important import, at 2.28% of total intra-African imports.

  • Other imports in the top ten are goods vehicles, mining machinery parts and liquid pumps.

  • The top ten imports account for 56% of intra-African imports.

  • Top export destinations on the continent are the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Africa, taking 35% and 30% of Zambia’s African exports. DRC and South Africa are also the most important sources of imports, with 48% of Zambia’s intra-African imports coming from South Africa, and 35% from the DRC.

Intra-Africa import tariffs

Zambia is part of both SADC and COMESA, meaning most of the goods imported from SADC or COMESA FTA countries enter duty-free. In the case of SADC, some products continue to face duties up to 25%, for example, various knitted and woven fabrics, some petroleum, fresh persimmons). There are also separate duties for South Africa and other SADC countries, for example, wheat flour from South Africa is duty free, while wheat flour from other SADC countries faces a 25% tariff. For non-FTA COMESA countries, Zambia has preferential tariffs on some goods. For example, Zambia’s MFN applied rate for a number of food products is 25%, for Ethiopia, 22.5% and for Uganda and Eritrea 5%.

Zambia applies ad valorem MFN tariffs of 5%, 15%, 25%, 30% and 40% on many products. At the HS2 level, musical instruments (HS92), fertilisers (HS31) and inorganic chemicals and rare earths (HS28) are duty free. Many tariff lines under HS84 (machinery) and HS72 (iron and steel) are also duty free.

Specific tariffs are applied to various products including butter and oils, flour, nuts and seeds, confectionary, beverages, cigarettes and tobacco, soap, tyres, wool, fabric, vehicles, chemicals and wood. Most of Zambia’s tariffs are ad valorem; but there are specific rates of duty on some products (duties for some of these products may be either ad valorem or specific whichever is higher). High specific tariffs are levied on passenger vehicles – KR6000/vehicle (or 30%); woven fabrics (KR3.5/kg or 15%); and tyres (KR3/kg or 25%).

Zambia’s most important intra-African imports – copper and cobalt – have MFN duty free access. Other imports from African countries are subject to duties up to 25%, however, these tend to come from countries within Zambia’s FTAs – for example, most of the frozen fish (MFN duty 25%) imported to Zambia is from SADC member Namibia, and the majority of oil imported is from SADC member countries Tanzania, Mauritius and South Africa, thus entering duty free.

Very little of Zambia’s intra-African imports are from outside COMESA and SADC. These represent less than one per cent – 0.33%. The main products imported from African countries outside the RECs are fertilizer related. These products enter Zambia duty-free. Other products include beauty products (from Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Togo), which face a 25% tariff, and sweetened milk or cream (from Senegal and Ghana) – of which some tariff lines face a 25% tariff.


Zambia: Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile | September 2018
Infographic: Zambia – Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile | September 2018

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