South Africa and China signed trading agreements to the value of $311-million (R2,3-billion) on Wednesday, reaffirming China's position as South Africa's number-one trading partner.
The two countries signed a similar agreement in 2007 to the value of $143-million.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Pretoria, South Africa's Trade and Industry Minister Dr. Rob Davies pointed out that the value of the contracts more than doubled in a three-year period, showing the countries' commitment to mutually beneficial trading ties.
He noted that the countries celebrated ten years of diplomatic relations in 2008, at which time China was South Africa's fifth-largest trading partner.
"Bilateral trade between China and South Africa has been following a very sharp upward trend since 2002, with the total trade between the two countries amounting to $119-billion."
During the recession, trading with China increased by 2%, whereas trade with every other country dropped.
However, Davies noted that trade statistics with China had shown a surplus in favour of China since 2003, but added that the surplus had been declining.
The National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference chairperson Jia Qinglin said that China would be looking at importing beneficiated, high-value products from South Africa to expand bilateral trade.
"China stands ready to work with South Africa, and this purchase agreement can attest to that. We have brought together over a hundred entrepreneurs to this forum to interact with the South African business sector."
South Africa is China's second-largest trading partner in Africa. Jia said that the country imported $16-billion worth of products from South Africa in 2009, which constituted 20% of China's trading efforts in Africa.
China was the first country to show an upwards turn in economic growth during the global recession, achieving 8,7% gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2009.
Jia said that China was aiming to match that growth rate in 2010 and to create an additional nine-million jobs for people entering the urban work force.
He noted that this opened up significant opportunity to increase the country's investment into South Africa.
Davies said that the country welcomed greater investment from China and mentioned South Africa's drive to export beneficiated products and original manufacturing equipment.
Further, he said that the country had officially exited the recession in December last year, and forecasted a 2,3% GDP growth for 2010.
He noted that the South African government was committed to a $106-million infrastructure programme over the next three years and that the country had recently released its latest industrial policy to assist with further economic development.
"In addition to infrastructure and industrial development, South Africa would also be focusing on green energy and energy-saving projects, advancing manufacturing capacity and technology to reduce its carbon emissions."
Chinese investment contracts signed on Wednesday included products such as copper, cobalt, chrome, mohair, wine, wool, granite blocks, manganese, fruits and an agreement between the two country's high-technology parks.