Sacu industrialisation plan to target eight sectors

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cape Town - The Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) is developing a regional framework for cross-border co-operation on industrialisation, which targets eight sectors in which the member countries can co-operate.

Briefing the media today, the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu, who chairs government's international co-operation, trade and security cluster, said these sectors are: clothing and apparel, agro-processing, mineral beneficiation, leather and leather products, automotives components, renewable energy, arts and craft and support services including infrastructure, transport and logistics and skills development.

She said there was ongoing work to identify sectors that were complementary and to promote value-chains and co-operation among Sacu members.

Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies said an agreement for the negotiation of the Tripartite Free Trade Area - between SADC, Comesa and the East African Community - was launched last year, and that negotiations would start soon.

"The period of exchanging information is now over and the period of negotiating that FTA is beginning," he said.

Commenting on the AU's proposal last month to create a continent-wide FTA, Davies said such a FTA would build on the Tripartite FTA currently being negotiated.

Important would be the resolution of non-tariff issues - such as improved infrastructure.

To this end, the development of the North-South Corridor, which included about 80 projects - from the middle of the continent through Zambia to South Africa, was key.

Essential, he said, was that goods be produced which African countries could sell to one another and that they not just focus on mining resources, he said.

The heads of states of the different regional economic communities would be meeting and putting together some revised proposals in the next AU summit in Malawi in June, he said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry last year embarked on a strategy to target 10 value-added products to the Chinese market.

A reviewed strategy for investment and exports, including more support for black exporters, is planned for the new financial year.

The Department of Tourism, through SA Tourism, has implemented an international tourism marketing strategy to increase the number of international tourist arrivals.

Tourist arrivals between January and September last year (at 6.1 million) increased by 2.6% compared to the same period in 2010, said Sisulu.

She said on average, each foreign visitor, between January and September last year, spent about R8 500 when visiting the country.