Pretoria: Although relations between South Africa and China have been improving, South Africa is still seen as a country that provides mineral commodities and not value-added products, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.
“South Africa had been concerned over the years that it was seen largely in China as a country which can provide mineral commodities and not recognising the full extent of our productive and export capabilities,” Davies said on Monday.
Since 2008, China has been South Africa’s number one trading partner both as an export destination and as a source of imports.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the South African expos that are being held in Beijing, Davies said in order to address this, South Africa has passed a product list indicating the number of value-added products which it can supply to China.
“This builds on an important point that was made in the Beijing Declaration, adopted in the context of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement (CSPA), signed by both countries in August 2010, which said that both countries will work together to ensure a higher proportion of value-added products in the exports which we provide to China.
“Another important commitment was that we said we will work together to invest in the beneficiation or value-addition of the mineral products at source,” he said.
South Africa is a destination of 25% of Chinese exports to the African continent and the source of 38% of Chinese imports from the African continent.
Davies said that the South African Expos 2012, which started in Beijing on Monday and which will continue later this week in Shanghai, are intended to give effect to the objectives of the CSPA.
The minister also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Department of Trade and Industry and the International Brand Management Centre that pertains to the promotion of South African products.
It is envisaged that this particular initiative will substantially enhance the trade relationship between China and South Africa.
Earlier on Monday, Davies met with his counterpart, Chen Deming, where both countries took forward some of the co-operational agreements and endorsed the technical support that will be made available by the Chinese to assist South Africa around the establishment of Specialised Economic Zones and skill development in the clothing and textile sector.