_: Ladies and Gentlemen of the media Secretary Clinton and I have just concluded our 2nd Strategic Dialogue.
We had discussions on:
Broadening our economic ties, especially through strengthening trade and investment opportunities;
Continuing our partnership in the fight against the spread of HIV and AIDS;
Areas of global interest and concern.
On economic ties and the strengthening of trade and investment opportunities between our two countries, we concluded a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in June 2012. In 2011, trade between South Africa and the United States was valued at R130 billion. Through the TIFA it is hoped that this figure will grow and benefit both our countries.
Currently 98% of South Africa’s exports enter the US market duty free and quota free under the current dispensation of the US African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA). Africa is eagerly lobbying for its extension beyond 2015.
There are already more than 600 American companies who have a presence in South Africa and I am also pleased to note that a number of larger South African companies like SASOL, SAB Miller, SAPPI, Standard Bank and ABSA are investing in the US economy and thus in the process contributing to job creation for both countries.
As you know, the fight against HIV and AIDS remains at the forefront of the South African government’s national priorities and today Secretary Clinton and I worked on means to help our countries to continue our partnership in the fight against the spread of HIV and AIDS, through the US PEPFAR Programme.
Through PEPFAR the US has contributed over US$3.1 billion dollars to South Africa (2004-2011). We remain a strong supporter of a continued partnership with the US on HIV and AIDS and I would also like to invite them to continue their ties with the people of South Africa in this regard.
The South African Government, welcomes President Obama’s recently-announced New Strategy towards Sub-Saharan Africa. This strategy includes the following:
i. The strengthening of democratic institutions;
ii. The spurring of economic growth, trade, and investment;
iii. The advancement of peace and security; and
iv. The promotion of opportunities and development for all Africans.
We believe that this strategy, in close correlation with the election of Minister Dlamini-Zuma as a Chairperson of the AU, will translate into a constructive and empowering relationship between Africa and the US.
From what I have said here it is clear that the Strategic Dialogue has elevated our mutual relations, and we look forward to a broadening and deepening of ties in the years ahead.