SA-China trade relations boosted by investment seminar

12 December 2018 | Web Article Number: ME201813084

Commerce & Trade
Import / Export

COINCIDING with the 20th anniversary of South Africa-China diplomatic relations this year, a seminar to cement partnerships and accelerate trade and investment between the countries took centre stage in Durban earlier this week.

In an initiative by Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) led by the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), a delegation comprising government officials and business representatives from Wuhan, Hubei province in China were welcomed to the city.

Creating linkages for partnerships and joint ventures to promote trade and investment was the primary focus of the seminar. The delegation will view strategic developments in the province this week.

“KZN is serious about doing business with China and today’s seminar is testament to this. Our two countries have strong business and political ties. Two successful companies from Hubei are already operating in KZN with this footprint and many more will follow,” said Ina Cronjé, TIKZN Board Chairperson.

Yangtze Optics Africa (YOA) Cable, an optical fibre cable manufacturer, is located in the Dube TradePort Industrial Development Zone and Jingmen Gem Co. based in Cato Ridge near Durban, is one of the top cobalt powder producers in the world.

In September 2018, President Xi Jinping announced at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) that the People’s Republic of China will invest $60 billion in Africa.

In welcoming the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) from Hubei, EDTEA MEC Sihle Zikalala said: “China remains South Africa’s largest trade partner with a healthy export and import balance between the two nations.

“The majority of the goods moved in these transactions pass through the ports of Richards Bay and Durban which are both in this province.”

Zikalala added that it was government’s duty to construct conducive conditions for business to thrive, to create policy certainty, and to support collaborations between businesses of the respective countries.

“To improve the ease of doing business and reduce red tape, we have set up the KZN One Stop Shop (OSS) here in Durban.

“The OSS assists investors and enterprises with all the necessary support to set up business in our province.

“KZN is open for business. Come partners with us. Your investments are safe with us.”

The CCPIT comprises enterprises and organizations representing the economic and trade sectors in China and the targeted sectors in this mission include forestry and agriculture, manufacturing, mining, pharmaceutical, construction, metals and machinery, medical, plastics and technology.

As co-host of the seminar, Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry President, Musa Makhunga, said: “This China-South Africa relation is built on a framework of three major platforms, namely the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC), BRICS, and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), of which South Africa has established itself as both a major contributor and the biggest beneficiary across the continent.

“China has become South Africa’s largest trading partner nine years in a row. In recent years, in both Hubei and KZN new and hi-tech industries have shown rapid and significant growth.

“DCCI as do other Chambers of Commerce & Industry seeks to promote fair and inclusive trade that will deal poverty, inequality, and unemployment a deadly blow. DCCI in particular co-operates with those committed to being in business for a better world with us.”

Wan Jiangping, Vice Chairman of Committee of People's Politic Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Jingzhou City, Hubei province said: “China and South Africa are important trade partners to each other. In 2017, the bilateral trade volume reached US$ 39.17 billion, a year-on-year increase of 11.7%.

“South Africa has become China’s biggest trade partner in Africa for eight consecutive years, and China has been South Africa’s biggest trade partner for nine consecutive years. As for investment, according to statistics, Chinese companies have invested over US$ 10 billion in South Africa in such fields as mineral industry, locomotives, household electrical appliances, automobile, finance, real estate and catering.

“The investment mode has expanded from the traditional green field investment to equity acquisition. Meanwhile, South Africa has most FDI in China among African countries, surpassing 700 million US dollars.”

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