A call to SA exporters

2014-07-09 00:00

LOCAL businesses need to start taking advantage of the export opportunities afforded through South Africa’s membership of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries.

This was according to Trade & Investment KZN (TIKZN) CEO Zamo Gwala, who said at the launch of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (DCCI) Exporter of the Year Awards programme yesterday that exporters earn the country foreign currency and create jobs.

DCCI executive director Andrew Layman appealed to KwaZulu-Natal exporters to participate in the awards competition. Even if the companies did not win an award, it could provide a valuable benchmark to improve their export performance, he said.

Kwanele Gumbi, deputy president of the chamber, said the Exporter of the Year would be more than just an awards programme this year, as the DCCI was intent on also promoting exports among smaller companies.

Gwala said the awards, as well as an “Export Week” programme that TIKZN plans to hold at the same time as the DCCI awards in October, were all part of an effort to recognise the importance of exporters to the economy.

The aim was also to expose smaller businesses to the processes that were necessary to become exporters, as well as the benefits, he said.

Gwala said the government had done great work in forging South African relations with the fast-growing Brics.

There were challenges entering those markets, but studies showed SA businesses had some advantages with which they could compete in those countries.

He said one competitive advantage was South Africa’s easier access to other African markets. Its good climate created opportunities in the manufacture of processed agricultural goods.

The country also possessed the industrial skills and technology to competitively manufacture equipment and plant for extractive industries, he said.

Demand for automotive components was also high in these countries.

There were opportunities to grow SA’s food and beverage brands in other Brics countries.

Risk insurance should to be introduced for smaller exporters, he said.

The government needed to also support local companies in international ­exhibitions.

SA’s diplomats also needed to work towards negotiating easier access for the country’s goods to Brics markets, as there were often high tariffs and duties in place in these countries.

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