SA strengthens trade relations with China

Our top products showcased at international fair

Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Elizabeth Thabethe

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, and his deputy, Elizabeth Thabethe, lead a delegation of 62 South African companies to China to showcase our investment environments, investment policies and investment projects this week.

The business delegation partook in the 17th annual China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) in Xiamen from 8-11 September 2013. The CIFIT wwas followed by the South African Expos in China, an annual event aimed at executing South Africa’s strategic objectives focussing on the top 10 value added products and investment projects. The South Africa-China Expos took place from 11-13 September 2013 in Shanghai and Beijing and was be led by Thabethe.

CIFIT is currently China's only international investment promotion event aimed at facilitating bilateral investment. It does not only comprehensively showcase the investment environments, investment policies, investment projects but also attracts investment promotion agencies from various countries and regions to conduct investment briefings.

Davies said South Africa has been granted the status of the Country of Honour at the CIFIT this year, as part of the celebrations of 15 years of China – South Africa diplomatic relations. 

He added that 15 sectors from South Africa will take part in this year’s South Africa-China Expos.

“Participating companies are in the sectors of agro-processing, chemicals, plastics, steel, aluminium, automotive, capital equipment and allied services, electro-technical, mining and beneficiation, renewable energy, infrastructure, oil and gas, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and transport and they all had an opportunity to showcase their products at the trade fair," added Davies.

In addition, Chinese and South African companies were encouraged to explore co-operation opportunities in infrastructure projects such as roads, railways, ports, power generation, airports and housing through a series of business-to-business meetings and investment seminars held during their visit to China.

According to Davies, South Africa’s exports to China reached an all-time high in 2011, valued at R85 billion rand, displaying a 45% increase in South African exports from 2010. In 2012 this figure declined slightly by 5%, due to global dampening of demand and a slowdown of China’s growth rate.  Although China is South Africa’s major trading partner, the majority of trade still resides in the commodities sector, which does not reflect well on the manufacturing sector.

Davies sated that in order to address this; South Africa has prioritised 10 top value-added products for export to China.

“We have also exhibited significant growth rates in 2012, despite comprising a negligible percentage in the total value of exports to China. According to the Chinese government, the total trade volume between China and Africa hit a record high of USD 166.3 billion in 2011, growing by 83% from the year 2009,” he emphasised.

Davies mentioned that as China moves from being a leading exporter to a consumer and investor focused country, it is anticipated that economic engagements will intensify further to position South Africa accordingly.

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