SA companies to seek opportunities in Australia

Friday, August 30, 2019

The Steel Tube Export Association of South Africa (STEASA) is keen to explore export markets in Australia through the Department of Trade and Industry’s Outward Selling Mission to that country.

STEASA will form part of the Outward Selling Mission (OSM) that will get underway on Sunday.

Twenty-five businesspeople will travel to Perth to partake in the weeklong mission that is organised and funded by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).

STEASA CEO Keitumetse Moumakoe said the association’s participation in the mission is part of the organisation’s efforts to seek competitive export markets for the manufacturers of the country’s steel tubes and pipes.

“Our main objective is to gather information on which projects are in the pipeline in Australia that financiers are willing or planning to put their money in. This will assist us to determine how the South African companies can explore opportunities to participate in various stages of the projects by exporting their products and expertise to Australia,” said Moumakoe.

The OSM coincides with the popular annual Africa Down Under (ADU) International Conference and Trade Show. South African companies will showcase their manufactured products and services at the three-day trade show that will get underway on 4 September.

Moumakoe said the association is determined to resuscitate the Australian market, which used to be one of the traditional markets for the South African steel and tube industry.

“There are a lot of mining activities in Australia and it used to be a traditional market for our exports. But we gradually lost that market to countries like China and Taiwan over the years due to our products not being competitive enough in the export market.”

Moumakoe said the high cost of input materials has reduced South Africa’s competitiveness.

“However, we have now embarked on a strong drive to resuscitate this market because of the United States of America’s Section 232 regulation, which has impacted us negatively. We have to diversify our markets and redirect our products to Europe and Asia.”

The delegation to Australia comprises companies operating in the mining, technology and services companies; mining, capital equipment and services; steel fabrication and steel tubing among others.

The department’s Deputy Minister, Fikile Majola, said the participation of local companies in the ADU will provide an ideal opportunity for them to showcase their products and services. It will also provide them with an opportunity to meet Australian and International mining companies, equipment suppliers and mining services providers.

“The ADU is the world’s leading gathering for companies and organisations in mineral exploration and mining services from all continents. It is said to have grown to become the largest African-focused mining event held outside the continent itself.

“It will provide a perfect platform for our businesspeople to showcase their products, services and expertise and interact with other businesspeople from across the globe,” said Majola.

Improving SA’s competitiveness 

Majola said the OSM forms part of the dti’s objective of exposing South African business to international markets with the goal of making them competitive at an international level thereby strengthening ties with its allied countries.

“The companies that we are supporting to participate in this mission are amongst the more than 850 that we have committed to funding this financial year in order to assist them explore export markets for their products and services. We want to see more companies securing international markets and increasing their production as this will require them to employ more people to service the increased demand.”

SA-Australia trade relations 

Bilateral trade between South Africa and Australia has been fluctuating from R21 billion in 2013 and R28 billion in 2018, which is an average growth of 6% over five years.

The trade balance has been in favour of Australia since 2013, fluctuating from R5 billion to R16 million in 2016 and down to R7 billion in 2018. In the Asian region, Australia was South Africa’s seventh export partner and fifth import partner in 2018.

The OSM will conclude on 7 September. -