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HARARE-- The Zimbabwean government has described as unfortunate the recent renewal of a United States law that places sanctions on Zimbabwe.

US President Donald Trump last Wednesday signed into law the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera) Amendment Act, which made a few changes to a law which was passed in 2001 which places travel restrictions on top officials in Harare and transactions between companies in the two countries.

It also gives US officials powers to confiscate assets belonging to Zimbabweans at any time and to veto any financial decisions to support Zimbabwe at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Zimbabwe's Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Sibusiso Moyo, said here Sunday the sanctions had a negative impact on trade relations between the two countries.

The recently signed ZIDERA Amendment Act (2018) is unfortunate in that we would rather there were no restrictive measures and sanctions in our bilateral relations with the United States, he said.

He said despite claims that the measures were targeted, they impacted trade relations between the two countries as they had non-existent bank to bank relations.

Both US companies and foreign companies are subject to penalties (if they trade with Zimbabwe), he said.

It cannot therefore be naively claimed that Zidera is targeted at a few individuals and does not affect trade and investment between the US and Zimbabwe, as the international media have always claimed.

Moyo said passage of the law would, however, not dent the government's re-engagement efforts to restore relations back to normal. We believe there is will on both sides to engage and end this kind of restrictive measures, he said.

He said Zimbabwe's new administration was making progress in improving governance and socio-economic environment as well as addressing some of the issues raised in Zidera.

Some of the efforts have been noted in the amended Zidera Act, Moyo said. Some of the issues it raises for example rule of law and enjoyment of freedoms have been ushered in by the new dispensation, he said.

It is estimated that in nearly two decades, Zidera has cost the Zimbabwean economy billions in potential business.