Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Henry Mussa says the opening up to free trade areas for member states of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) will boost the growth of Malawi’s economy.

Mussa said this on Monday in Blantyre at Ryalls Protea Hotel where he opened a day long sensitization workshop for legal practitioners and the private sector on fair trading propagated by COMESA Competition Commission and Malawi Competition and Fair Trade Commission (CFTC).

Mussa said all the COMESA member states are opening up to free trade areas, where there will be free movement of goods and services.

“As member states, we are also working towards removing monopolies and issues of cartels, at the same time encouraging mergers and joint ventures. But let us not restrict commodities to specific companies.

“In fact, we are removing protection of any company to ensure that fair trading flourish in the region,” said Mussa.

On this note, the Minister said the workshop was very significant as it would help participants to understand the climate in which goods and services move in and outside Malawi.

He said: “This is why among others; the workshop seeks to equip legal practitioners on the harmonization of the local CFTC and COMESA Competition Commission laws so that when trade ligation issues crop up, all the concerned countries should have the same wave length of understanding.”

The minister hoped that Malawi would benefit a lot from this new development as it is already on the right track to becoming a net exporter of goods and services considering that the development will help open up market for the country.

“Malawi has made major trade strides and is gaining momentum to become the net exporter of goods to neighbouring countries and COMESA as a whole,” added the minister.

In his remarks, Director and Chief Executive Officer of COMESA Competition Commission, George Lipimire, said the workshop was one in a series currently being carried out in all the 19 COMESA member states targeting legal practitioners and business captains.

Lipimire said it was important that lawyers and business captains understood business regulations both domestic and international level to facilitate smooth business transactions within the region.

“Through the workshop, we want to make people aware that business is a good venture, particularly when there is fair competition,” said Lipimire.