By SA News
South Africa is working to improve the promotion of competitive products in order to expand trade volumes and improve its trade structure.
“We are working towards the promotion of competitive products in order to expand trade volumes, improve trade structure and promote balanced and sustainable development of bilateral trade volumes on the current basis.
“This includes China giving favourable consideration in expanding its imports of the top ten value-added products from South Africa,” Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe said.
The Minister held a meeting with a high-level Chinese delegation from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China at the Union Buildings on Friday afternoon.
The objective of the meeting was to exchange views on issues of mutual concern relating to trade and industry agreements signed between South Africa and China during the 2015 Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Johannesburg and the 2015 Chinese State Visit to South Africa.
Minister Radebe said total imports from China in 2015 were valued at R199.4 billion compared to the total value of South African exports into China of R94.4 billion resulting in a trade deficit of R105 billion.
South Africa’s agricultural exports amounted to R1.1 billion while agricultural imports from China amounted to R1.7 billion in 2015. Meanwhile, the trade balance for the mining sector remained positive.
Both South Africa and China have committed to increasing direct investment in agriculture, fishery, energy and manufacturing, among others.
South Africa wants to encourage the support of investment and cooperation into fuel cell technology for small scale power generation, human resource development as well as in the area of energy which includes nuclear, renewables and bio-fuels.
“Achieving all of the above will contribute to our own national imperatives which is embedded in our National Development Plan (NDP),” said Minister Radebe.
Referring to the recently concluded BRICS Summit in Goa, India, the Minister said China and South Africa’s economic growth prospects and the increased momentum of the BRICS formation will continue to be a critical engine for growth and development objectives.
For Africa inclusive and interconnected development, industrialisation and curbing illicit financial flows remain crucial goals.
“Both at a national and continental level, infrastructure remains a critical priority focus. Reliable, efficient infrastructure is crucial to economic and social development that promotes inclusive growth.”
Government has established Invest SA, which is a one-stop shop investment centre coordinated by an Inter-Ministerial Committee that is chaired by President Jacob Zuma.
The Minster told the delegation that Invest SA has identified several high impact priority projects in water, energy, ports and rail.
In addition, the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI) emphasises the importance of infrastructure investment that aims to ensure job creation and the transfer of expertise.
Key projects identified by the PICI, which is also led by President Zuma, include the Grand Inga Hydro Project as well as the Lesotho Highlands Water Project-Phase 2.
SA an important role player says Chinese delegation
Speaking through an interpreter at the meeting, the Chinese delegation said they were glad to be in South Africa to discuss economic cooperation prospects.
“[South Africa] has played an important role in global governance and climate change among others,” said the delegation.
The delegation said relations with mining-rich South Africa over the years has grown.
“The two countries… have gone from a partnership to a strategic partnership. Cooperation between the two countries has become a template for cooperation between China and other African countries.”
China is has become South Africa’s largest trading partner for seven consecutive years.
“In 2015 bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to 46 billion US dollars while about 140 large scale Chinese companies are [operating] in South Africa,” said the delegation that arrived in South Africa on Friday morning.
The meeting on Friday was also attended by Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel as well as Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.