According to SAnews.gov.za Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says South Africa will use the up-and-coming state visits involving India and France to boost trade and investment, in a bid to boost exports to those markets.
The Minister also said Invest South Africa, a one-stop-shop that was set up to address investor bottlenecks and attract investment, will sign an agreement with the French business sector when President Jacob Zuma leads a high-level business delegation to France next week.
Minister Davies said this when he briefed journalists on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to South Africa on 8 July 2016, as well as South Africa’s state visit to France from 11 to 13 July 2016.
“As far as we are concerned, India is our very strategic trade and investment partner.
“At the moment, India is our sixth largest trade partner, so it is in fact higher than a number of other traditional trade partners.
“So from our point of view, we want to boost exports, more especially our value added exports,” he says.
The Minister said India is now SA’s sixth largest trade partner. Trade between the two countries was R95bn in 2015. Trade with India represented 4.9% of SA imports and 4.1% exports.
Minister Davies said according to trade statistics, India’s exports to SA increased from R29 billion in 2011 to R54bn in 2015, while SA’s exports to India increased from R24bn to R41bn during the same period.
While the trade surplus is in favour of India, efforts are underway to promote SA exports, especially value added products, to India.
Since 1994, India’s has invested in several sectors in SA, including the mining industry, financial services, pharmaceutical sector and manufacturing.
According to FDI markets, a total of 82 Indian projects in South Africa were recorded from 60 companies with a total capital expenditure of R62 billion between January 2003 and January 2016.
India’s investment in SA has created 10 660 jobs.
Invest SA to sign agreement with Business France Minister Davies said President Zuma will also use the state visit to France to attract investment in several targeted sectors.
France is SA’s fourth biggest trading partner in the European Union (EU) after Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy.
SA’s imports from France increased to R24,5bn in 2015 from R23,9bn in 2014.
SA has a deficit trade balance with France that stood at R15,3bn in 2015.
SA’s total exports contracted by 3.7% from R9,5bn in 2014 to R9,1bn in 2015.
“One of the key outcomes for the state visit will be the signing of a Declaration of Intent between Invest SA with Business France as well as an agreement by the Industrial Development Corporation with its counterparts on cooperation on industrial development.
“There is potential to increase SA’s exports of agriculture and agro-processed products into the French market, including some manufactured products such as Diesel powered trucks, wheeled tractors, lead-acid accumulators, vacuum cleaners and pneumatic tyres,” the Minister said.