_: His Excellency President Jacob Zuma will lead a South African Government delegation to the 5th South Africa (SA)-European Union (EU) Summit, scheduled to take in Brussels, Belgium on Tuesday, 18 September 2012.
The summit takes place within the context of the ongoing political dialogue – the Magôbagôba Dialogue – under the auspices of the SA-EU Strategic Partnership and the SA-EU Trade, Development and Cooperation (TDCA).
This year’s summit takes place against the backdrop of another milestone between the two regions – the full implementation of the TDCA, which was first signed in 1999 as a legal basis for overall relations between South Africa and the EU. In this regard, on 1 January 2012, the final obligations were met for the SA-EU Free Trade Area to come into existence. The summit will build on the positive progress that has been made thus far since the last summit in the Kruger National Park in 2011.
Issues to be discussed at this year’s summit will include progress on the implementation of the SA-EU Strategic Partnership; the ongoing negotiations on SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs); Upcoming COP18, Assessment of the Rio+20 Conference held in Brazil in June; Peace and Security issues in Africa and the Middle East, and G20.
This year’s SA-EU Summit is preceded by the inaugural SA-EU Business Forum, which is being held in Brussels today, 17 September 2012. The Business Forum will be addressed by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Minister Rob Davies and the EU’s Commissioner of Trade, Mr Karel De Gucht.
The President will on the morning of 18 September, immediately before the summit deliver a keynote address at the SA-EU Science and Technology Cooperation seminar to be held in Brussels. The seminar is celebrating 15 years of Science and Technology Cooperation between South Africa and the EU. The EU is very important to South Africa. It remains South Africa’s largest trading partner, largest, largest investor and largest donor of Development Assistance.
The two-way trade between South Africa and the EU has continued to grow, making the EU as a single customs territory, South Africa’s largest trading partner. In 2001 the EU accounted for 26% of the value of SA trade flows. In 2011 South Africa exported to the EU goods worth R152 billion and imported R 223 billion, giving the EU a trade surplus with South Africa of R71 billion.
The EU’s Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) stock in South Africa comprises 77 percent of South Africa’s total FDI. The EU’s ODA to South Africa amounts to €980 million for the period 2007-2013, with further €900 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for the same period. Furthermore, the EU remains one of South Africa’s largest source of tourists, over 1, 2 million tourists came from 17 EU countries in 2011.
H.E. President Zuma will be accompanied by Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane of International Relations and Cooperation; Minister Rob Davies of Trade and Industry; Minister Naledi Pandor (Science and Technology); Minister Dipuo Peters (Energy); Minister Pravin Gordhan (Finance) and Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla (Defence and Military Veterans).
The EU Delegation will be led by President of the European Council, President Van Rompuy, and the President of the EU Commission, President José Manuel Barosso. High Representative Cathrine Ashton will also be in attendance on the EU side.