SA, India strengthen trade relations

Friday, January 19, 2018

South Africa and India have committed to strengthen trade relations between the two countries in 2018.

This, as the two countries celebrate 25 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

“South Africa and India also committed at the meeting to strengthening bilateral relations in 2018, specifically in the areas of trade, foreign direct investment, tourism and people-to-people contact,” said the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) in a statement.  

These commitments were made during the Foreign Office Consultations that took place on Thursday in New Delhi, India.

The meeting was co-chaired with South Africa represented by DIRCO Deputy Director-General Professor Anil Sooklal, who is responsible for the Asia and Middle East Regions.

Ministry of External Affairs Dr Neena Malhotra was the co-chair representative from India.

The consultations form part of the structured mechanism which governs bilateral relations between the two countries. This mechanism comprises a Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) and the Foreign Office Consultations (FOC).

The FOC serves to reflect on matters of mutual interest within the global arena, as well as a review mechanism to take stock of progress in the implementation of the decisions of the previous Joint Ministerial Commission.

Developments since the 9th Joint Ministerial Commission

The meeting reviewed developments in the bilateral relationship between South Africa and India, since the 9th Joint Ministerial Commission held in Durban, in May 2015.

“South Africa and India enjoy a Strategic Partnership based on shared values and common interests and the meeting reflected on progress made with regard to the conclusion of a number of legal instruments, including agreements and memoranda of understanding, aimed at promoting cooperation within specific areas,” said the department.

These areas relate to visa simplification procedures, cooperation in higher education, audio-visual co-production and renewable energy.

The meeting further reflected on ways to grow commercial links between South Africa and India, especially in the fields of trade and investment, while noting that bilateral trade had grown steadily over the last decade.

“For the year, January to November 2017, two-way trade had reached R97 billion and further areas of cooperation were being explored in the financial services industry, defence procurement, agro-processing and deep mining equipment,” said the department.

The two countries pledged to cooperate in order to fast track reform in institutions of global governance.

“Close collaboration would continue in the fight against terrorism and within important groupings such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), the latter where South Africa has taken over the chair for the period 2017-2019,” said DIRCO.  

The 10th Joint Ministerial Commission will take place in India during the course of 2018. –SAnews.gov.za