- Chinese and SA companies sign 93 trade agreements
- The deals are valued at R27 billion
Chinese and South African companies signed 93 trade agreements to the value of R27 billion at a signing ceremony in Cape Town on Friday 21 June. Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel thanked Chinese companies for having invested over US$10 billion in South Africa. This figure does not take into account all the investments by private Chinese companies into South Africa.
Patel said the deals would create jobs for South Africans which would in turn grow the country’s GDP.
Patel highlighted the importance of shifting South African exports to China from primarily mineral products and commodities to more value-added products, which would result in job creation through industrialisation. South Africa could potentially become an important manufacturing base for China which would benefit from South Africa’s free trade and market access agreements, he said.
China’s ambassador to South Africa, Lin Songtian, raised some challenges that China and other foreign investors had when considering further trade and investment into South Africa. These issues included safety and security and the necessity for the South African government to introduce preferential trade policies. Another red flag was that foreign investors find it increasingly difficult to enter into South Africa and the entry processes needed to be revised.
In addition to the R27 billion in trade agreements, a further $30 million was being directed towards BAIC’s (Beijing Automotive Industrial Corporation) new automotive assembly plant for development in Coega SEZ, said Reng Hongbin, China’s assistant Minister of Commerce. He added that China is South Africa’s biggest trading partner, with their collective trade balance in 2018 totalling R627 million.
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