Malawi is a member of SADC and COMESA and grants reciprocal preferences to member states of these organizations. Malawi has bilateral trade agreements with South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe that allow duty exemptions on selected commodities. The SADC Trade Protocol calls for the establishment of a SADC Free Trade Area (FTA) that will result in the gradual elimination of tariffs between member states. In principle, the SADC FTA took effect in January 2008, although certain members (Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia) are still implementing their scheduled tariff phase-down. Malawi is also a member of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which was founded in 2018 with trade officially commencing in January 2021.
In general, import duties and excise taxes vary according to product, country of origin, end use, and national interest decisions. Depending on the good, import duty, excise taxes, and value added taxes (VAT) may all be charged. The Malawi Investment and Trade Center (MITC) posts relevant information on its website and can assist foreign and domestic companies in identifying incentives available to them. MITC staff can also coordinate with other government authorities like the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) to identify the relevant rates for products. The MRA Customs and Excise Division has the most recent updated Customs and Excise Tariff Order.