Pretoria: International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has concluded her Working Visit to Italy.
Whilst in Italy, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane held bilateral talks with her counterpart, Paolo Gentiloni, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, with a view to renew political and economic relations between the two countries.
The two Ministers exchanged views on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual concern, which included discussions on further enhancing trade and investment, and exploring further areas of cooperation such as the development of small business, infrastructure and the ocean economy, among others.
“The two minister also discussed migration crisis, peace and security issues, as well as the scourge of terrorism. Minister Nkoana-Mashabane extended an invitation to Minister Gentiloni to visit South Africa during the course of 2016,” said the department.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 2003 to establish a framework for regular bilateral consultations at Ministerial or Deputy Ministerial level. Areas of cooperation under the framework include science and technology, police, defence, tourism, arts and culture and agriculture, amongst others.
Bilateral trade between the two countries increased remarkably in 2014 by reaching a 6-year high after increasing by almost R7 billion.
Trade figures are expected to increase following an announcement this year that South Africa was amongst three countries identified by the Italian government as potential strategic suppliers for products such as raw materials, semi-finished and intermediate products in metallurgical, steel, alloys and foundries.
South Africa’s exports to Italy are dominated by mineral products, hides and skins and iron ores and there is scope for increased exports of agricultural products, platinum, titanium and ferro alloys.
Imports from Italy consist mainly of machinery, vehicles, electrical and electronic equipment as well as pharmaceutical products.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS