SA, China to boost relations

Monday, February 22, 2010

Pretoria - A South African delegation will depart for China later this week to strengthen cooperation and support in the economic, trade and political sphere.

International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who will lead the delegation, will hold discussions with her Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on ways to advance the African agenda.

The visit comes within the context of strengthening South-South Cooperation, which provides the basis for mutual benefit and cooperation between Africa and China, the ministers' office said on Monday.

Her schedule between Thursday and Friday will include a visit to the South African Pavilion under construction at the Shanghai 2010 World Expo and a courtesy call on the country's Vice President Xi Jinping.

Nkoana-Mashabane will also address the South African business community in Beijing on Thursday and other business people in China on Friday in Shanghai.

The visit forms part of a "Strategic Partnership Dialogue" between the two countries.

According to the department, trade figures show that during the first half of 2009, China was South Africa's number one export destination, with annual growth of 53.9 percent, taking 11.9 percent of the total market.

South African exports there amounted to R42.45 billion, while imports amounted to R59.10 billion with a trade balance of R16.65 billion.

The trade deficit in the last quarter of 2009 was in China's favour at R46.5 billion per annum, an increase by R13.3 billion since 2007 and 2008.

Nkoana-Mashabane will be supported by Director-General, Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba and other senior department officials.