Comesa scraps 12 trade agreements

THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) has scrapped more than 12 trade agreements, which have been deemed anti-competition and have the potential to hamper effective economic integration efforts.

The regional trading bloc said the move was taken by its Competition Commission after assessing the implications of the agreements.

“The banned agreements were found to have the potential to bar potential competition in the Comesa by safeguarding dominance by monopoly undertakings,” said Comesa in a latest update.

“According to the Commission, anti-competitive agreements have the highest potential for partitioning the common market hence the renewed vigilance on such agreements,” it said.

Among the reviewed treaties by the Commission are distribution agreements affecting alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and the fast-moving consumer goods.

In another case regarding consumer protection, the Commission intervened and had the Ethiopian Airlines compensate passengers who had been inconvenienced as a result of overbooking.

Also included in the ban is the trade agreement between Confederation Africaine de Football (Caf) and Lagardere Sports SAS (LS).

In the agreement, Caf had granted the exclusive right to commercialise its broadcasting and marketing rights to LS in the common market for an extended period of over 20 years.

Zimbabwe is a member of the 21-member regional grouping, which seeks to foster increased economic integration.

Meanwhile, the Comesa Competition Commission has cautioned consumers in the region to be alert lest they fall victim to fraud during this time when most business are operating online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It noted that most consumers have resorted to online buying to avoid close physical contact in the conventional markets and also in compliance with directives from their respective governments.

“We are aware that consumers may be subject to online fraud and similar such vices during this time,” it said.

Since 1 April 2020, the Comesa Competition Commission has embarked on an awareness campaign aimed at encouraging consumers in the region to be aware of scams from businesses that make false claims. — chroncielcoz.w

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