SA/China relations represent continental aspirations

The relationship between South Africa and China should be seen more as a continent to continent relationship rather as two countries forming alliances, said Lionel October Director-General of the Department of Trade and Industry.

October was addressing more than two-hundred delegates at an Investment Seminar hosted by the DTI in Shanghai, China.

“China’s investment has grown significantly in Africa and we have seen several companies invest in numbers. In South Africa alone Chinese manufacturer First Automobile Works has invested $100 million to build a vehicle and truck assembly plant in Coega and so far the project has produced one thousand jobs with some of the vehicles destined for Africa”, said October.

October pointed out that the current position is of a win-win mutual economic benefit and that this will further deepen the relations between the two countries.

He also said South Africa has moved from exporting primary to value-added and more technologically advanced products.

October encouraged Chinese companies to invest in South Africa and take advantage of opportunities presented by recent initiatives such as the Tripartite Free Area.

The Memorandum of Understanding with the International Brand Management Center (IBMC) and Trade and Investment South Africa, which was signed earlier in the week between the two institutions, will assist the South African enterprises to gain access into the Chinese market.

The MoU further stipulate that IBMC will provide comprehensive services to introduce and promote South Africa’s products and services in the Chinese market, develop local distributors for selected South African enterprises and exporters, and the distribution channels.

The Top Ten Products identified in the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement (CSPA) between South Africa and China signed in August 2010 includes agro-processing, chemicals, plastics, steel, aluminium, automotive, capital equipment, manufacturing, electro technical, paper and pulp.

The South African Expos which are currently hosted in China are an initiative that seeks to expand the basket of export products into China, and change the current structure of trade to comprise more value-added products over the long term.

The expos will conclude tomorrow and sixty-eight South African companies from different sectors are taking part in the exhibitions.

Last year’s expos generated on the spot export sales of value-added products worth R8 million and estimated future export sales over the medium term (next three years) of about R400 million.

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