SA companies to participate in trade initiatives

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pretoria- More than 30 South African enterprises are to participate in the Department of Trade and Industry (dti)'s Investment and Trade Initiative (ITI) that kicks off today in Russia.

"The objectives of the ITI are to create market penetration for South African value added products and services and to promote South Africa as a trade and investment destination," dti Minister Rob Davies said.

The initiative follows on President Jacob Zuma's state visit to Russia which recommended efforts to increase trade between the two countries.

Oil and gas, agro-processing, metal and aerospace enterprises, as well as the mining and capital equipment sectors are participating in the initiative that concludes on Friday.

The ITI will include activities such as mini-exhibitions and business to business meetings. The initiative is part of the dti's export and investment promotion strategy.

South Africa's export basket to Russia is dominated by primary sector products, particularly the agricultural sector, consisting of citrus fruits, apples and pears. The Russian exports basket is concentrated more on fabricated products.

The minister said there has been a substantial growth in total trade between the two nations from 2006 to 2011 (from R2.566.2 billion to R3.261.705 billion respectively).

"South African exports increased from R670 million in 2006 to R2.020.4 billion in 2011," said Davies.

Russia is the world's seventh largest economy by nominal GDP and the sixth largest by purchasing power parity. It is South Africa's 41st export destination.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister Elizabeth Thabethe is leading a 45 person business delegation to an ITI in Harare and Bulawayo in Zimbabwe which also begins today.

The delegation comprises companies in the infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture and agro-processing, mining and mining capital equipment, as well as information and communication technology sectors seeking to export South African value added products and services; or joint venture partnerships with Zimbabwean companies.

"The South African Government is committed to the development and recovery of Zimbabwe and we are confident that the ITI will go a long way in enhancing economic cooperation with Zimbabwe. The two countries share historical and cultural linkages.

"South Africa's economy is inextricably linked to Zimbabwe's economy. Due to its geographical proximity to South Africa, Zimbabwe's political and economic welfare has a direct impact on South Africa," said Thabethe.

In 2011, trade between the two countries stood at R20 billion.

Several South African countries operate in Zimbabwe principally in the mining, tourism, agriculture, banking and retail sectors. Foreign direct investment by South African entities in Zimbabwe between 2003 and 2010 amounted to US$ 619 million.