South Africa and China sign trade deals ahead of BRICS Summit

South Africa’s Trade, Industry, and Competition Minister, Ebrahim Patel, announced that discussions held in Pretoria between South Africa and a high-level Chinese delegation have yielded increased cooperation aimed at enhancing trade, investment, and job creation.

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Supported by South Africa’s Ambassador to China, Siyabonga Cwele, Patel made these remarks in Johannesburg, after engaging with China’s Minister of Commerce, Wang Wentao, during sessions on Wednesday and Thursday. Wang was accompanied by China’s Ambassador to South Africa, Chen Xiaodong.

These discussions took place as part of an official session of the Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETC) between the two nations, concentrating on boosting trade and altering the trade composition. The goal is to ensure that South Africa can export more value-added and manufactured products to China.

Leading the Chinese delegation, Wang emphasized the remarkable progress in bilateral trade and economic collaboration between South Africa and China in recent years. He stated that China’s ongoing high-quality development would open broader market access and opportunities for countries globally, including South Africa.

The Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition’s records show that bilateral trade between the two nations surpassed R900 billion last year, and Chinese investment in South Africa reached almost R200 billion.

The convening of the Joint Economic and Trade Committee took place to make arrangements for the upcoming State Visit by China’s President Xi Jinping, which is slated for August 22 in South Africa. Within these deliberations, particular attention was given to China’s advancements in environmentally friendly technologies, such as electric vehicles.

Minister Patel underlined China’s status as South Africa’s primary trading partner. The talks focused on strategies to augment South Africa’s exports, raise Chinese investment in South African industries, and increase trade missions between the two countries. Both parties also committed to addressing customs fraud and under-invoicing while collaborating on industrialization efforts and transitioning to a greener manufacturing economy.

Since 1994, South Africa and China have been steadily deepening their political and economic ties. The initial phase prioritized trade, resulting in China becoming South Africa’s largest trading partner. The second phase has concentrated on investment, with China’s investments in South Africa spanning various sectors, including mining, telecommunications, and manufacturing.

As the BRICS summit to be held in South Africa looms ever nearer, the world expects the bloc to increase cooperation in trade and investment as well gain political clout on the global stage as a bloc.

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