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MMTZ-Sacu trade pact delay jeopardizes 2,000 jobs
Nov '10
Textile sector representatives in Malawi have alarmed the authorities as the delay in the Malawi-Mozambique-Tanzania-Zambia (MMTZ)-Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) trade pact has risked around 2,000 jobs in the textile sector in Malawi.

The MMTZ-Sacu pact, which ended on December 31, 2009, facilitated countries like Malawi to export their goods to Sacu markets without any duty imposition. Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa all together constitute the Sacu market. However, it is almost a year since the parties to the contract failed to extend the deal which was very much essential for subsistence of the Malawi's already ailing textile industry.

Macdonald Chuma, Deputy General Secretary of Textile, Garments, Leather and Security Services Workers Union (TGLSSWU) stated that, if the deal is not signed, then there are chances of the sector experiencing a downfall. He further added that, though they are hoping for the best but the conditions are getting worst.

Also that, when the manufacturing units have no markets to export their textiles, it would lead to a fall in the earnings of the companies making it difficult for them to retain the workers, he said.

He added that, there is a company – Win Win Garments, which still exports garments to African countries under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), and that it is through this act, that United States gains a better access to goods of Malawi and 38 other Sub-Saharan African countries.

There are around 6,000 people employed in the Malawian textile industry. No less than five textile firms exported their goods to Sacu markets till December 2009. But as the authorities could not manage to extend the deal, a firm called Giant Clothing was required to shut down, rendering over 1,000 people jobless, while other firms like Crown Fashions and Exclusive Fashions sacked 500 and 25 employees, respectively.

Fibre2fashion News Desk-India

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