Pretoria: South Africa and Hungary have committed to strengthening bilateral trade.
This follows a meeting between the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mzwandile Masina, and his Hungarian counterpart, László Szabó, in Pretoria.
The two Deputy Ministers exchanged views on how to improve economic relations between South Africa and Hungary.
Deputy Minister Masina said they undertook to make efforts to improve the trade imbalance that exist between the two countries. South African exports to Hungary were valued at R743 million, while imports from Hungary were valued at R3.22 billion in 2014.
The two Deputy Ministers acknowledged the importance of the South Africa – Hungary Joint Economic Commission (JEC) and agreed to use it to facilitate trade and investment between the two countries. The JEC is co-chaired by the Deputy Ministers.
“As the co-chairs of the JEC, we have agreed to promote cooperation between our countries in the following areas: education and training (exchange of students for skills development), manufacturing (joint ventures on car components and bus manufacturing), pharmaceuticals, water management and water technology, agriculture, tourism and banking.
“To show our commitment of promoting cooperation, we will have our second session of the JEC by April 2016,” said Deputy Minister Masina.
The Deputy Ministers agreed to explore the possibility of the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency and Trade and Investment South Africa (TISA) signing an agreement to collaborate to facilitate trade and investment promotion between the two countries.
They also agreed to use their countries’ economic relations to access both European and African markets.
Total trade between South Africa and Hungary had been inconsistent over the years 2010 – 2014, valued at R22.8 billion.
Total trade has decreased from R4.3 billion in 2010 to R3.9 billion in 2014, however, 2013 saw total trade between the two countries dropping significantly to R3.7 billion (from R4.9 billion in 2012).
The decline in total trade in 2013 can be attributed to the ongoing economic slowdown in the EU region and also South Africa’s slow economic growth as the country is still recovering from the impact of the global economic crisis.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS