Zuma takes trade agenda to China

2014-11-27 14:25

Ministers of the economics cluster will accompany President Jacob Zuma on his state visit to China next week in a bid to strengthen investment relations between the two countries.

“South Africa and China share a sound political relationship which can be used to better lay the basis for implementing South Africa’s economic objectives,” International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told journalists in Pretoria today.

“China has become South Africa’s single largest trading partner in the world, and South Africa has become China’s largest trading partner in Africa.”

The minister listed several objectives of the state visit by Zuma and the ministers of international relations, trade and industry, transport, agriculture and finance.

The objectives included reviewing the status of bilateral relations, and discussing ways of supporting South Africa’s industrialisation agenda.

South Africa wanted China to agree to invest in the areas of science and technology, agroprocessing, mining and mineral beneficiation, renewable energy, finance and tourism.

Zuma would also review the progress made on cooperation between the two countries on infrastructure development.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, speaking from Cape Town, said several commercial memorandums of understanding, focusing on media, banking and technology, would be signed during the South Africa-China Business Forum on December 5.

“It is expected that approximately 150 Chinese enterprises will attend the business forum,” said Davies.

“The expectation is that numerous deals will be concluded as a result of the interaction at the aforementioned platform.”

Total trade between South Africa and China stood at R271 billion at the end of 2013, with the trade balance still being overwhelmingly in favour of China.

“The composition of trade remains a concern for South Africa and there are measures under way to increase South Africa’s exports of manufactured products to China, such as the South African expo in China held annually since 2011,” said Davies.

“China has also undertaken to support South African initiatives aimed at promoting value-added products in China.”

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