South Africa is bothered by the biasness of its trade with China towards the commodities sector.
This emerges from a statement made by the minister of trade and industry, Rob Davies on arrival in Xiamen, China, to attend the 17th annual China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT).
Leading a 62 South African companies and with a mission to entrench Top 10 value-added products for export to China, Davies said although China is South Africa’s major trading partner, the majority of trade still resides in the commodities sector, which does not reflect well on South Africa’s manufacturing sector.
Davies said to address this; South Africa has prioritised Top 10 value-added products for export to China. He said South Africa’s exports to China reached an all-time high in 2011, valued at R85 billion and displaying a 45% increase from the 2010 figure. In 2012 this figure declined slightly by 5%, due to global dampening of demand and a slowdown of China’s growth rate.
Davies said as China moves from being a leading exporter to a consumer and investor focused country, it is anticipated that economic engagements will intensify further to position South Africa accordingly.
Davies landed in China on Saturday for the CIFIT taking 8-11 September 2013. The CIFIT will be followed by the South African Expos in China which is an annual event aimed at executing South Africa’s strategic objectives focussing on the Top 10 value added products and investment projects. The South Africa-China Expos takes place from 11-13 September 2013 in Shanghai and Beijing and will be led by Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Elizabeth Thabethe.
South Africa’s department of trade and industry said CIFIT is currently China’s only international investment promotion event aimed at facilitating bilateral investment. It does not only comprehensively showcase the investment environments, investment policies, investment projects but also attracts investment promotion agencies from various countries and regions to conduct investment briefings.
Davies said South Africa has been granted the status of the Country of Honour at the CIFIT this year, as part of the celebrations of 15 years of China – South Africa Diplomatic relations. He added that 15 sectors from South Africa will take part in this year’s South Africa-China Expos
“Participating companies are in the sectors of agro-processing, chemicals, plastics, steel, aluminium, automotive, capital equipment and allied services, electro-technical, mining and beneficiation, renewable energy, infrastructure, oil and gas, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and transport and they will get an opportunity to showcase their products at the trade fair. In addition Chinese and South African companies will be encouraged to explore co-operation opportunities in infrastructure projects such as roads, railways, ports, power generation, airports and housing through a series of business to business meetings and investment seminars to be held during their visit to China”.