Ramaphosa to lead economic and trade visit to China

Cape Town – A high-level delegation of South African ministers and officials led by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will depart on Sunday for an official visit to China.

The visit will focus on economic and trade matters and, specifically, on how state-owned enterprises can be utilised to promote economic growth and address challenges of poverty and unemployment.

The delegation will focus on China’s state-owned enterprises and how South Africa could utilise the Chinese model in its own re-industrialisation process, the Presidency said in a statement on Sunday.

Ramaphosa's delegation will include Public Enterprises Minister Lynn Brown and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, several deputy ministers, senior government officials, and business and state owned enterprises executives.
 
Ramaphosa will pay a courtesy call on President Xi Jinping and meet Premier Li Keqiang. He will hold bilateral discussions with his counterpart, Vice President LI Yuanchao in Beijing to discuss a number of issues within the context of the five to 10 year strategic programme, which was signed by President Jacob Zuma during his state visit to the country.
 
“These … include trade and investment cooperation, financial cooperation (also in the context of the Brics New Development Bank), infrastructure development, energy issues, vocational training and South Africa's co-hosting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which will be hosted later this year in South Africa,” the Presidency said.
 
Ramaphosa will also visit the Chinese Academy of Governance to explore potential areas of cooperation, particularly in the area of skills development for middle and senior government officials.
 
The delegation will meet the management of Haier, China Rail Company and Hisense, which recently expanded its existing operations in South Africa by establishing a manufacturing centre in Atlantis, Western Cape.
 
It will then visit the Shenzhen Comprehensive Traffic Command Centre, which is a programme of initiatives supported and advanced by ICT and managed and run by a governing entity in order to improve the quality of experiences for residents, business and visitors.
 
They will also visit the Shenzhen Port, the world's third largest container port and the headquarters of Huawei, which is interlinked with the Smart City on all levels, including municipal services, urban ICT infrastructure and real-estate, such as smart buildings.

Total trade between South Africa and China, which is its largest trading partner, grew from R118bn in 2009 to R271bn by the end of 2013, but decreased to R261bn by the end of 2014.

“We believe that this visit is an important step towards increasing our trade with the Peoples Republic of China,” the Presidency explained.
 
Ramaphosa is expected to return to South Africa on 18 July 2015.

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