9 September 2013
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies arrived in Xiamen, China on Sunday accompanied by a delegation, representing 62 South African companies, that will be taking part in the 17th China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT).
South Africa has been granted the status of Country of Honour at this year’s event, as part of the celebrations of 15 years of China-South Africa diplomatic relations.
The CIFIT, which opened in Xiamen on Sunday and ends on Wednesday, will be followed by the South African Expos in China, an annual showcase of the country’s top value-added products and investment projects.
The South Africa-China Expos, taking place in Shanghai and Beijing from Wednesday to Friday, and will be led by Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Elizabeth Thabethe.
CIFIT is the only international investment promotion event aimed at facilitating bilateral investment with China, showcasing Chinese investment environments, policies and projects while providing a platform for agencies from various countries to conduct investment briefings.
Davies said on Sunday that 15 South African industry sectors would be taking part in this year’s South Africa-China Expos.
“Participating companies are in the sectors of agro-processing, chemicals, plastics, steel, aluminium, automotive, capital equipment and allied services, electro-technical, mining and beneficiation, renewable energy, infrastructure, oil and gas,” he said.
Information communication technology (ICT) and transport will also get an opportunity to showcase their products at the trade fair.
“In addition, Chinese and South African companies will be encouraged to explore co-operation opportunities in infrastructure projects such as roads, railways, ports, power generation, airports and housing through a series of business-to-business meetings and investment seminars.”
According to Davies, South Africa’s exports to China increased by 45% year-on-year to reach an all-time high of R85-billion in 2011. In 2012, this figure declined by 5%, due to global dampening of demand and a slowdown in China’s growth rate.
Although China is South Africa’s major trading partner, the majority of trade still resides in the commodities sector, which does not reflect well on the manufacturing sector. In order to address this, Davies said South Africa had prioritised its top 10 value-added products for export to China.
He added that as China moved from being a leading exporter to a consumer and investor focused country, South Africa was intensifying its economic engagements to position the country accordingly.