Maritime was singled out as an area of potential exchange between South Africa and Poland during the visit to South Africa of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk last week.
South Africa’s deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe said “As South Africa we believe maritime is one of the sectors that present a potential for greater economic co-operation”
There are opportunities for joint investment, technical co-operation and institutional partnerships especially in shipping, ports and logistics, marine manufacturing and ship repairs”.
Motlanthe also said other opportunities for increased trade and investment exist in industries such as mining, machinery building, in metallurgy, science and technology and food processing.
Tusk said South Africa was the biggest trading partner of Poland in Africa and that the two countries share a lot in common such as the rich history, the love for democracy and the commitment to human rights. Tusk also said that the two countries had done well in the banking sector by creating the strong economies which continued to survive even during the world economic crisis.
“The time has come for us to get down to serious work to ensure that together we are able to overcome the challenges that face us. I hope that this mutual relationship will strengthen cooperation between us and contribute further to the economic growth of our countries,” he added.
South Africa and Poland signed an Economic Cooperation Agreement to strengthen and further develop economic cooperation existing between the two countries, on the principle of reciprocity and mutually beneficial basis.
The Agreement states that the cooperation between the two countries will cover the sectors of Mining and mineral exploration, carbon enrichments and mining machinery, Oil and gas, Energy, Construction, Transport and infrastructure among others.
South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies said in order to ensure further development and promotion of bilateral trade and investment between the two countries, a structured interaction in the form of a Joint Economic Commission (JEC) within the ambit of the Agreement will be formed.
“This JEC will also explore areas of economic cooperation which provide and promote maximum opportunities in trade and investment development, shared interest and mutual benefits,” said Davies.
To further promote trade and investment between the two countries, two Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) were signed between the national investment promotion agencies of Poland and South Africa which are Trade and Investment South Africa (TISA) and the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (Palilz), and between the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) and the Industrial Development Agency of Poland (IDA).
Addressing the Business Forum which took place in Midrand, Motlanthe said he hoped the JEC will provide Polish and South African business leaders with enabling conditions to improve trade between the two countries.
According to Motlanthe, while trade between South Africa and Poland has grown steadily over the last six years, the current trade volumes do not reflect the true potential and goodwill that exist between the two countries. He highlighted that there are still significant trade and investment opportunities which South Africa and Polish businesses can exploit.