SA, China sign more bilateral agreements

Friday, December 5, 2014

Pretoria - In an effort to strengthen bilateral relations and trade ties, South Africa and China have signed a number of strategic agreements.

One of the agreements was a five- to 10-year strategic programme on co-operation, focusing on bilateral cooperation, including "political mutual trust and strategic co-ordination" and co-operation in international affairs and BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] related issues.

The countries also agreed to further improve bilateral cooperation in trade and investment to redress the structural imbalance in the two countries' bilateral trade.

An action plan on agriculture cooperation -- including the protocol of phytosanitary requirements (the control of plant diseases) for maize and apples exported from South Africa to China and for dates exported from China to South Africa -- was signed.

The signing of the agriculture related agreements, according to the Presidency, was an affirmation that both countries stand ready to strengthen personnel and technology exchanges as well as promote agricultural capacity building through exchanging delegations.

“The agreement further promotes hosting technology and management workshops, and strengthening cooperation between research institutes, universities and colleges of the two countries,” the Presidency said on Thursday.

The agreements were signed after the talks between President Jacob Zuma and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Thursday.

President Zuma arrived in Beijing on Wednesday for a State visit to China at Xi's invitation.

President Zuma said the signed agreements affirm the Beijing Declaration on the Establishment of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which was signed in 2010 and will further enhance the strategic relations that the two countries enjoy.

“We will also look at ways of enhancing cooperation in various sectors such as finance, the environment including cooperation in the Ocean Economy, trade and investment as well as transport and agriculture,” President Zuma said.

President Zuma said South Africa was looking forward to the conclusion of the 5 - 10 Year Framework on Cooperation during this visit, which will further enhance the implementation of the outcomes of the Bi-National Commission and the Inter-Ministerial Joint Working Group.

“We need to improve cooperation in the financial sector, allowing easier access to each other’s financial markets,” the President said.

China supports African development

Xi said the two sides should maintain the momentum of high-level interactions and increase exchanges on legislation, justice, defence and State governance as well as exchanges between localities.

Xi said China upholds a correct view on justice and will give full consideration to South Africa's needs for development in cooperation between the two countries.

Xi proposed the two countries boost cooperation in trade, finance, agriculture, energy and mining, infrastructure and maritime economy to complement each other and realise growth of two-way trade in a balanced way.

The two sides should also expand people-to-people exchanges and strengthen coordination in major international affairs, said the Chinese president.

Echoing Xi's proposals on cooperation, President Zuma said South Africa hopes to learn from China's experience and welcomed Chinese investments, including those in South Africa's infrastructure, special economic zones, industrial parks and maritime economy.

South Africa stands ready to boost cooperation with China in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) mechanism and looks forward to an early launch of the Africa regional centre of the BRICS Development Bank to make the international economic and financial order more fair and rational, said the South African leader.

During the talks, Xi also said China will work together with South Africa to promote peace, stability and development in Africa.

China is willing to support South Africa's push to establish an African standby force and will work with the international community, including South Africa, to help West African countries in the fight against the Ebola epidemic, Xi said.

The Chinese side will also support South Africa's efforts to host the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. - SAnews.gov.za-Xinhua

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