Parliament calls for improved balance of trade between SA and China

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The Parliaments of South Africa and China have undertaken to strengthen their oversight role to ensure that democracy works to improve people’s lives in both countries.  

Addressing the 5th Regular Exchange Mechanism’s virtual session, National Assembly (NA) Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, praised the level of cooperation with which the two countries fought the COVID-19 pandemic.

The session was hosted by the National People’s Congress (NPC) of China and led by Mapisa-Nqakula and the chairperson of the Standing Committee of the NPC, Li Zhanshu.

Mapisa-Nqakula said although trade improved significantly, more needs to be done to improve the balance of trade through heightening South Africa’s capacity for value addition and manufacturing, among others.

“Both our countries have already recognised the current balance of trade between our two countries as untenable for the sustenance of mutually beneficial cooperation and agreed to address this,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.

Mapisa-Nqakula called for more joint research and development, taking into account opportunities provided by the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), as well as greater efforts to address not just the COVID-19 pandemic, but other pandemics that were worsened by the pandemic, including poverty, inequality, and gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) in South Africa.

Mapisa-Nqakula highlighted several areas where South Africa could learn from China’s experiences. These include readiness to manage disasters beyond COVID-19, strengthening of public awareness, participation and outreach, including lessons in parliamentary broadcasting, as part of the broader communication strategy.

She further called for the review and improvement of the 15-year-old Memorandum of Understanding entered into in 2006 by the two Parliaments, enhancing the post-pandemic recovery strategies in a manner that eliminates the graphic inequalities exposed by COVID-19 pandemic, and strengthening performance-based oversight to accelerate the execution of the Bi-National Commission’s Programme of Action.

“Although the economies of China and South Africa are completely incomparable in size, the cooperation between the two countries recognises the current and untapped potential of each economy that can be developed for mutual and equal benefit,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.

Li expressed his gratitude to South Africa for supporting China during the challenging times of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The two countries shared medical supplies and non-pharmaceutical products including masks, strategic collaboration in global development initiatives and multi-lateral platforms to ensure that changes made bring tangible results and a better quality of life to the people of both countries.

Zhanshu also highlighted various successes registered by China from which South Africa could learn lessons, including the elimination of absolute poverty within three decades.

“The strategic partnership between the two countries resulted in China being the leading trading partner of South Africa for over a decade, while the two countries’ mutual trade relations and outcomes are leading in the African Continent,” Zhanshu said. – SAnews.gov.za

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