International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will pay an official visit to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to hold discussions with her counterpart, Mr. Yang Jiechi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, from 25-26 February 2010.
The visit takes place within the context of the Strategic Partnership Dialogue between the Republic of South Africa and the People’s Republic of China which was launched on 7 January 2008 as yet another vehicle to consolidate the bilateral relations between the two countries.
Accordingly the main objectives of the visit are as follows: to review and strengthen the Strategic Partnership, to further examine ways to advance the African agenda, to deepen cooperation in the multilateral arena, to coordinate and strengthen business linkages, to exchange Chinese views on the Asian regional integration.
While in China Minister Nkoana-Mashabane is expected to use the opportunity to visit Shanghai in order to view the South African Pavilion under construction at the Shanghai 2010 World Expo.
Participation at the Shanghai Expo is consonant with the Cabinet Lekgotla’s decision of July 2007, which identified China as the test case for coordinated planning and implementation of the country’s international relations; marketing South Africa abroad; and strengthening South Africa’s economic diplomacy.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane will also pay a courtesy call on the Vice President of the People’s Republic, Mr. Xi Jinping.
In addition Minister Nkoana-Mashabane will deliver a speech to the South African business community based in Beijing, on 25 Feb 2010 at the Westin Beijing Chaoyang Hotel, and address ‘Business People in China’ on 26 Feb 2010 in Shanghai, on “South Africa and the South.”
South Africa and the People’s Republic of China enjoy cordial bilateral political and economic relations.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1998, trade between SA and the PRC has grown from approx. R5.2 bn in 1998 to R107 bn at the end of 2008.
South African exports to the PRC increased from R1bn in 1998 to R36bn in 2008. PRC imports to SA increased from R4bn in 1998 to R82bn in 2008.
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%, taking 11.9% of the total market.
SA exports to the PRC amounted to 42.45bn Rands. SA imports from the PRC amounted to 59.10bn Rands.
Trade Balance: -16.64bn Rands. Total trade value: 118bn Rands. (October 2009). Despite the positive trade trends, in the last quarter of 2009 trade deficit was still in PRC’s favour at R46.5 billion per annum, an increase by R13.3bn since 2007/08.
Minister Nkoana Mashabane will be supported by Director-General, Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba and Senior officials from the Department of international Relations.
Source: Sapa online, 20100221
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