The signing of 93 economic and trade cooperation agreements between South African and Chinese entrepreneurs signifies a deepening of the economic relationship between the respective countries, newly appointed Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel said in a statement.
The statement was issued following a ceremony, on Friday, during which deals worth more than R27-billion were signed.
The deals are expected to help to create jobs for young people, while deepening South Africa’s industrial footprint and growing the country’s gross domestic product.
“One of the noteworthy agreements is an additional equity injection into a Chinese auto-assembly plant in Coega. The Beijing Auto Industrial Corporation is building the country’s first new light-vehicle manufacturing plant in more than 45 years, in Coega, in the Eastern Cape.
“Our engagement through platforms of this nature reflects our common determination to take our economic relations to greater heights,” the Minister said.
He further outlined that South Africa and China had established diplomatic relations that had been more than 20 years in the making, with an upgrading of partnerships between the two countries to a strategic level resulting from the adoption of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement (CSPA) in 2010.
“The CSPA prioritised improving the structure of trade between the two countries by working towards a more balanced trade profile and encouraging trade in value-added manufactured products. This would be achieved through Chinese enterprises investing in South Africa’s manufacturing industry, as well as actively promoting the sourcing of value-added products by China from South African suppliers,” Patel said.
He added that it was the department’s belief that the implementation of the eight major initiatives to boost cooperation between China and Africa under the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation – particularly in the areas of industrialisation, infrastructure, trade and investment facilitation, as well as financial services and capacity building – would make a positive contribution to the growth of the African continent.
Patel concluded by strongly encouraging that the profile of South African exports to China change to more value-added products, which would support industrialisation and lead to the employment of many South Africans, in line with the 2010 CSPA.