SOUTH AFRICA WORKING TO IMPROVE COMPETITIVE EXPORTS, TRADE STRUCTURE
South Africa is working to improve the promotion of its competitive products in order to expand trade volumes and improve its trade structure, says Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe.
The government is 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, he adds.
"This includes China giving favourable consideration in expanding its imports of the top ten value-added products from South Africa," said at a meeting with a high-level delegation from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planning agency, here Friday.
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 State visit to South Africa by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Radebe said total imports from China in 2015 were valued at 199.4 billion (one US dollar = about 13.87 Rand) compared with the total value of South African exports into China of 94.4 billion Rand, resulting in a trade deficit of 105 billion Rand.
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 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 inter-connected 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," Radebe said.
He told the delegation that Invest South Africa had 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.
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 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 which arrived in South Africa Friday morning.
The meeting was also attended by Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel as well as Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK.