Pretoria: South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Elizabeth Thabethe is in Czech Republic to co-chair the second session of the Czech – South Africa Joint Committee for Economic Cooperation.
The purpose of the Czech – South Africa meeting is to promote and strengthen trade, investment and economic cooperation between the two countries.
The Deputy Minister is accompanied by the officials, as well as a business delegation.
“The primary objective of the visit is to strengthen commercial and economic relations between the two countries,” the Department of Trade and Industry said in a statement.
Today’s session will begin with a plenary session chaired by the Heads of delegation from both South Africa and Czech Republic in Prague.
The officials meeting will discuss areas for further strengthening cooperation, as well as, to finalise the joint communique in preparation for signing by Deputy Minister Thabethe, and her counterpart Pavel Solc. Thabethe will also address the SA-Czech Republic Business forum.
Economic relations between South Africa and the Czech Republic are governed by the South Africa – Czech Republic Joint Committee for Economic Cooperation.
Thabethe said that South Africa’s imports from Czech have always constantly been higher than export receipts.
“A large portion of trade between the two countries is related to machinery and mechanical and electrical appliances- about 57 % of imports from Czech Republic and about 49% of exports destined for the country. Other major South African imports from the country include vehicles and related components (20%) as well as base metals,” said Thabethe.
From Czech Republic Thabethe will travel to Slovak Republic to co-chair the 4th session of the Slovak -South Africa Joint Council for Economic Cooperation with her counterpart, Pavol Pavlis.
The two are expected to sign the joint protocol which will outline the plan on further expanding bilateral trade and economic cooperation between South Africa and Slovak Republic.
Deputy Minister Thabethe said that total trade between South Africa and Slovakia had been increasing consistently over the years.
“In 2011, bilateral exchange of goods between Slovakia and South Africa amounted to R792 million, an increase of 14% in comparison to 2010 (R720 million),” said Thabethe.
At the 3rd Session of the Joint Council for Economic Cooperation on 26 – 27 February 2009, the following sectors were identified wherein bilateral trade co-operation should be developed:
Medical – pharmaceutical
Fresh and process food – wines