Thursday, July 8, 2010

WTO TRADE POLICY REVIEW: MALAWI

Since the last review in 2002, Malawi has made progress in reforming its trade policy regime in the areas of customs procedures, competition policy, government procurement, and privatization of some state-owned enterprises, according to a WTO Secretariat review on the trade policies and practices of Malawi.

The report highlights the need for a reform and simplification of the complex tariff structure together with its exemption schemes, something that would promote economic efficiency, reduce administrative costs, and possibly raise more tariff revenues. It also stresses the vital role of trade facilitation measures to help reduce Malawi’s high cost of transport.

Members of Trade Policy Review Body (TRRB) appreciated that Malawi has remained on the path of reform and has not retreated from its open policy stance despite the global financial crisis. They also noted the administrative difficulties foreign investors occasionally had in Malawi and encouraged Malawi to further improve the business environment in the country. It was also noted that Malawi needs to continue modernizing its trade-related legislation to align it with WTO obligations, as well as international best practices. Malawi informed Members of the TPRB that a comprehensive review of commercial and trade-related laws is underway. Members also reminded Malawi of its WTO notification obligations, to ensure the transparency of its trading regime.

The report, along with a policy statement by the Government of Malawi, was the basis for the second Trade Policy Review (TPR) of Malawi by the Trade Policy Review Body of the WTO on 9 and 11 of June 2010.