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Xi says China ready to import more from ‘strategic partner' South Africa

Chinese President Xi Jinping with South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings, in Pretoria

Chinese President Xi Jinping with South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings, in Pretoria

22nd August 2023

By: Terence Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

     

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Chinese President Xi Jinping says China stands ready to import more quality products from South Africa, while also encouraging Chinese enterprises to invest in the country, which he described as a “strategic” bilateral and multilateral partner.

China is South Africa’s single biggest trading partner and South Africa is China’s largest African trading partner, with bilateral trade of $57-billion recorded in 2022.

However, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration has made the reduction of the trade deficit between South Africa and China a key priority, along with improving access to the Chinese market.

“Our bilateral trade has grown exponentially, from less than R1-billion in 1998 to over R614-billion in 2022.

“As South Africa, we would like to see the significant trade deficit narrowed and this visit is an opportunity for us to look at ways to do so,” Ramaphosa said following a meeting with Xi at the Union Buildings and after bestowing the Chinese leader with national orders.

Xi, who is on his fourth State visit to South Africa, said Chinese and South African relations had become more significant strategically since the establishment of diplomatic relations 25 years ago and were currently also of “global significance”.

Speaking through a translator, Xi said he had held productive talks with Ramaphosa on the “development of bilateral relations in the new era and international and regional issues of common concern”.

“Both President Ramaphosa and I believe that our two countries should be strategic partners, enjoying a high degree of mutual trust,” he added, reporting that the two countries would support each other on “issues concerning our core interests”.

Ramaphosa indicated that, besides ongoing bilateral initiatives, South Africa and China would pursue multilateral cooperation at Brics, a bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa that would hold its fifteenth yearly summit in Johannesburg this week.

That cooperation would extend further, Ramaphosa indicated, to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the G77 plus China, and the G20.

“President Xi and I look forward to the upcoming Brics Summit and have agreed that Brics must play an expanded role in global affairs,” Ramaphosa said, while also indicating that Xi had welcomed the peace mission to Russia and Ukraine initiated by African leaders.

Potential for development cooperation was also highlighted, with Xi and Ramaphosa set to co-chair a China-Africa Leaders’ Roundtable on the sidelines of the State visit, which would focus on development, industrialisation and integration of African economies.

“We need to be development partners,” Xi declared.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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