Total trade between Zimbabwe and the European Union (EU) amounted to 791 million U.S. dollars in 2012, a slight decline from 860 million dollars realized the previous year, EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell'Ariccia said Thursday.
He told participants at a trade workshop that the decline was due to poor commodity prices in the EU and a poor agricultural season in Zimbabwe.
"In 2012, trade between Zimbabwe and the EU totaled about 800 million dollars with Zimbabwe enjoying a positive trade balance of 171 million dollars," he said.
He said trade between the two sides was expected to grow further in view of the interim economic partnership agreement (iEPA) that Zimbabwe signed with the regional trading bloc last year.
The iEPA allows Zimbabwe's exports to enjoy duty-free and quota- free access to the EU market.
Dell'Ariccia said the political re-engagement that the EU had started with the ultimate aim of fully normalizing relations with Zimbabwe was another step the EU hoped would help expand trade between the two sides.
The EU, which is Zimbabwe's second largest trading partner after South Africa, is thawing its decade-long sanctions on Zimbabwe in response to democratic reforms being undertaken by the southern African nation.
Dell'Ariccia said the EU hoped to fully normalize relations with Zimbabwe once it holds transparent and peaceful national elections.
On its part, the EU imports mainly agricultural and mining products from Zimbabwe while Zimbabwe imports cars, machinery and electrical products among other manufactured goods from the EU.