Pretoria – South Africa should do more to promote the export of value-added products to India, Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Elizabeth Thabethe said on Monday.
Thabethe is on an Investment and Trade initiative trip to that country. Addressing South African and Indian businesspeople at a seminar on Monday, the deputy minister said that in 2012, total trade between the two countries was worth around R62 billion.
The investment and trade initiative is part of the Department of Trade and Industry's Export and Investment Promotion Strategy, which focuses on targeted high growth markets with the objective of creating investment and export opportunities for South African companies.
South Africa exported mainly coal, iron and steel as well as ores, while it imported mostly petroleum products, motor vehicles and pharmaceutical products.
“This clearly shows that South Africa’s exports mainly consist of raw materials and that there is a need to diversify the composition of South Africa’s exports to India towards value-added products and services,” said the deputy minister, who was speaking at the Taj Hotel in New Delhi.
She urged India to not only concentrate on Africa for its resources but also to source manufactured products from countries on the continent.
“Trade between the two countries has received a lot of attention over the past few years. The rationale for this is rooted in the enhancement of South-South economic integration and cooperation.
“The broadening of economic space through larger consumer markets gives developing countries such as South Africa and India the opportunity to develop economies of scale, increase their competitiveness and become global competitors,” said Thabethe.
Senior member of the Executive Committee of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Bikramjit Singh Sahney, underscored the importance of the participation of Indian companies in the beneficiation of South African minerals and all other raw materials.
“The bilateral trade between South Africa and India has been consistently in favour of South Africa. Imports from South Africa are higher than India’s exports to South Africa.
“But Indian businesspeople in the mining sector and other sectors like agriculture have started to concentrate their focus on beneficiation and value-addition inside South Africa in order to bring back valued-added products or semi-finished products to India,” he said.
This would be a win-win situation for India and South Africa, said Sahney, who is also the Honorary Consul for North India in South Africa.
Acting High Commissioner of South Africa to India, Malose Mogale urged businesspeople from South Africa and India to work together and explore the unlimited economic opportunities that exist between the two countries.
Thabethe’s five-day visit to India will conclude in Mumbai on Friday.
In August last year, Thabethe led a technical mission to India to observe progress made by the Indian government on the development of Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME). In November, South African craft companies exhibited at the 32nd India International Trade Fair. - SAnews.gov.za