SA delegation heads for Havana Fair

Monday, November 2, 2009

Johannesburg - Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Thandi Tobias-Pokolo is leading a 40-member government and business delegation to the 27th edition of the Havana International Trade Fair.

South Africa's attendance at the Fair, which will take place in Cuba from 2 to 7 November, will provide an opportunity for companies to showcase their products and services, and network with their counterparts from the rest of the world and Cuba in particular.

The visit will also serve to strengthen the South-South agenda, as well as further the objectives of the joint bi-national commission agenda with Cuba, by promoting trade and investment between the two countries, reports

"South Africa regards Cuba as a strategic partner in the Caribbean and the visit provides an opportunity to further strengthen relations between the two countries.

"Cuba has the potential to emerge as a significant oil producer, with opportunities arising in this area," Tobias-Pokolo explained, adding that it has a growing tourism sector, and South Africa was well-placed to supply the necessary products to that market.

Cuba is an important trading partner for South African exporters, and the department has secured a pavilion for South Africa's participation, where 34 companies will showcase their technological and industrial capabilities. The companies include emerging, well established, as well as women-owned companies.

The targeted sectors include agro-processing, biotechnology, automotives, construction, pharmaceuticals, capital equipment (including mining equipment), chemicals, electro-technology (security systems) and engineering services.

In 2008, South Africa exported goods to the value of almost R82-million to Cuba, and imported goods to the value of about R15.7-million during the same period.

In Tobias-Pokolo's view, South Africa's participation in the Fair will promote its exports as well as investment potential to Cuba.

The department has participated in the annual Fair since 2004, with the exception of 2005.