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Progressive Leader - Issue 6 - Focus on BRICS
9 September 2011
Distinguished guests, ladies & gentlemen,
At the outset, let me express our sincere gratitude to the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade for the sterling cooperation that has led to this morning`s forum.
We would like to recognise and welcome representatives of the CCPIT with us this morning, including:
Ladies & gentlemen,
Earlier this week the South African delegation attended 7th China Jilin Northeast Asia Investment & Trade Expo.
It was an historic occasion: It is the first time that Africa has participated in the Expo.
To mark the occasion, not only were we there, we assembled the largest PBF trade delegation to date, with over a hundred delegates, including more than 90 businesspeople from 70 plus companies. This delegation now visits Beijing where we are participating in the China / South Africa Forum co-hosted by ourselves and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. The delegation is extremely honoured to be accompanied by South Africa`s Deputy Minister of Water & Environmental Affairs, Hon. Rejoice Mabudafhasi, as well as the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Chairpersons for Trade & Industry, and Economic Development, Ms Joan Fubbs MP and Elsie Coleman MP.
As I said in Changchun, it is indicative of the interest that South African enterprises have with developing partnerships with enterprises from the People`s Republic of China. It follows on the extremely fertile foundations and friendly relationships developed between the Governments of China and South Africa since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in 1998.
In this short space of time China has become South Africa`s largest trading partner, with bi-lateral trade between the two nations now exceeding USD 58,6 billion, that is for the financial year 2010.
Our task today is to further develop the economic growth between our two countries by cementing partnerships for growth between the participating enterprises from both sides.
To this end we are pleased to announce that a number of agreements were signed in Changchun earlier this week between companies from China and South Africa. These included:
A joint venture agreement between Power Matla and Judelong in the field of steel tower construction; and
An agreement between one of our other PBF companies in the field of mining equipment and the Changchun based company Chang Tuo.
In addition a number of Letters of Intent were also signed, including those with:
Jilin Jiahe Steel Structure Installation Co. Ltd and Beijing Huali United High-Tech Co. Ltd, who intend entering the South African market in the field of new innovative housing; and
Lu Kun Commercial and Trade Co. Ltd in the field of tyre recycling.
Ladies & Gentlemen,
The economic relations between the People`s Republic of China and South Africa are based on mutual respect and cooperation. It has as its objective the development of two-way, mutually beneficial trade and investment. Trade & investment that benefits both sides of the economic equation; endeavouring to, as far as possible, balance the trade between our countries.
There remains much room for improving the economic ties and the content of investment, such as the conversion of Chinese raw materials from that of an extraction based nature, to the beneficiation thereof within South Africa prior to its export to China. Channelling trade through South Africa also has added advantages in that it opens up new opportunities for Chinese enterprises who wish to gain access to new markets which may currently prove restrictive, e.g. Europe and the United States of America, where special incentives are in place to promote trade with Africa. And of course, smart development aid, or economic cooperation, which should focus on infra-structural development which will both improve Africa`s competitiveness and lower the cost of trade.
In the light of the economic and financial challenges facing the world community, I would plant the idea that China`s investment choice could shift from lower earning US investment debt for example, towards much higher earning African infra-structure investments. Of course, in this regard, we acknowledge, that African countries still have much work to do to ensure that the necessary legislative certainty is in place, economic & social stability secured, where there is investment certainty and of course, economic predictability. All of which is however to be found in South Africa.
Distinguished guests, ladies & gentlemen, in conclusion,
The Progressive Business Forum is the business outreach programme of the ruling ANC. As such we wish to at a practical level support our government`s national and strategic international objectives.
For our participating companies we provide a whole suite of benefits including our Dialogue Programme, Enterprise Development Programme, a range of publications and trade promotion.
In trade promotion and in support of our government`s strategic objectives we prioritise the BRICS group i.e Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa; as well as Africa and other emerging markets.
Our efforts in China are now already well advanced. We cooperate closely with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and do work in parallel with that of South Africa`s Department of Trade & Industry, so that South Africa`s reach into the vast and extensive Chinese market and territory is extended.
Our first ever PBF trade delegation took place in 2008, and we chose Shanghai as the destination. Since then we have been back in 2009 – to Guangzhou, 2010 – to Shanghai where we also attended the World Expo 2010; and this year to Harbin in the Heijeilong province, Changchun in Jilin and now Beijing.
We are receiving a growing number of inbound Chinese business delegations. In the last couple of months we have hosted business delegations from Shaanxi, Jilin and Guangdong.
We continue to encourage such trade delegation exchanges; as there is little substitute for experiencing a place in person and for person-to-person contact. The refrain we hear from Chinese delegations is their surprise at the level of economic development in South Africa and the opportunities it has to offer.
We look forward to working closely with you in order to take our relations to even higher levels.
Thank you ladies and gentlemen.
I trust that we will have a productive session this morning.