Food fair seals SA-Asia trade relations

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The keen interest in South African goods and services at the 19th SIAL China International Trade Fair for Food is a positive step in cementing relations with Asia, says South Africa’s Consul-General in Shanghai Mpho Hlahla.

Led by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), a delegation of 23 local companies in the agro-processing sector are currently participating in the largest annual Asian food fair in Shanghai.

Speaking at the official opening of the fair that kicked off on Wednesday, Hlahla said every bit of trade that is taking place between South Africa and the Asia world is a positive step towards growing and cementing of mutually beneficial economic trade relations. 

Hlahla said South African made products are well regarded and in demand in the region.

“You have to appreciate that this is a premium show and that not all countries get an opportunity to present at the fair. Being here for us simply means that we have products that are of exceptional quality, that are well-packaged and that are very much in demand in this market.

“I am particularly pleased to see a variety of products on display and certainly trust that the markets will buy into our products and do hope that in addition to China, patrons visiting this three-day expo will test our products and reach positive conclusions,” she said. 

In addition, Hlahla extended an invitation to export-ready local companies that are looking to expanding their client base beyond South Africa’s borders.

“I call upon our business community to take this opportunity and explore China as a potential market. Our consulate is forever ready to assist in every aspect of doing business in this region,” she said.

Meanwhile, South African Trade and Industry Foreign Economic Representative in Shanghai, Thulani Mpetsheni, said that showcasing at SIAL has been a success in demonstrating South Africa’s diversified economy.

“To be here is but a very small step in that direction because this is not the end of the journey. After showcasing what we are able to produce and present at this pavilion we will then follow up on those companies that we have given access to the market to determine the progress made.

“This links with the dti’s Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) strategic objective of seeking to develop local industries and sourcing market for developed products. More exports will certainly mean more creation of jobs,” said Mpetsheni

He added that China was more than a gateway to Asia and that it is the destination for Asia and for the world.

“A market of 1.4 billion people is impossible to ignore and it needs more focus, it needs more resources. If the South African government had more resources, we would do more after-exhibition-activities,” he said.

SIAL China is a leading platform for international producers and manufacturers of food products, wines, spirits and food service equipment.

Speaking ahead of the food fair, Minister Rob Davies said China ranks as largest consumer of food and beverages with an estimated value of around one trillion Euros.

“It is projected to grow rapidly over the next two-decades. The rising levels of Chinese disposable income, increases in retail sales of consumer goods and remarkable growth for South African products such as wine puts us in a unique position to make inroads into this lucrative market,” said the Minister.

SIAL China International Trade Fair for Food concludes on Friday. -