South Africa and China have agreed to that more could and should be done to increase trade and investment between the two countries‚ President Jacob Zuma said after talks with his Chinese counterpart‚ President Xi Jinping.
Zuma noted that 26 agreements worth R94 billion had been signed between the two countries during the Chinese President’s second official state visit to South Africa.
“The volume of agreements indicates the amount of work that has been done in the past few months‚” he added.
Zuma said that the two leaders had taken the opportunity to discuss progress made in the implementation of their “Five-to-Ten Year Strategic Programme of Cooperation”.
Many areas of cooperation had been identified and a great deal of progress had been made in the areas identified for 2015.
The 2015 areas of cooperation were the following:
- Alignment of industries to accelerate South Africa’s industrialisation process;
- Enhancement of cooperation in Special Economic Zones
- Enhancement of marine cooperation;
- Infrastructure development;
- Human resource cooperation; and
- Financial cooperation.
“In our discussions today‚ President Xi and I both expressed our satisfaction about the progress we have made in the implementation of identified projects.
“We focused on especially our economic and trade relations.”
Zuma noted that South Africa had just hosted an Inward Buying Mission from China‚ which had comprised large Chinese State owned enterprises in the areas of Agriculture and Agro-processing‚ Minerals‚ Plastics and Chemicals‚ Capital Goods‚ Automotive and related sectors.
“We wish to invite more inward buying missions to South Africa‚” he stated.
“I believe that this will contribute to addressing the structure of our bilateral trade‚ as well as the industrialisation of our economy.”
Both leaders were satisfied about the level and extent of the cooperation that existed between the two countries with regard to the establishment of Special Economic Zones and science parks in South Africa.
“In this regard‚ I refer particularly to Chinese investments in the Metallurgical Cluster by the Hoi Mor Consortium within the Musina Special Economic Zone in Limpopo.
“We requested China’s continued support for the development of South African special economic zones and industrial parks‚ especially in infrastructure development and the establishment of incubation centres and specialised training institutes.
“In the area of energy‚ I informed President Xi that there is a niche for cooperation with China mainly in wind‚ solar and hydro power through the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme programme.
“We have also discussed our cooperation related to Operation Phakisa‚ especially programmes aimed at unlocking the potential of our ocean economy.
“Amongst others‚ these include the development of small harbours and the positioning and utilisation of South African ports as Transhipment Hubs for Chinese Ocean Carriers in their global trade and within the BRICS trade‚” Zuma added.
“In addition‚ we also proposed further engagement with China on the recapitalisation of our marine manufacturing capacity and investments in vessel construction businesses.
“We also seek to expand tourism and business interaction. We therefore welcome the introduction of direct flights between Johannesburg and Beijing by Air China.
“South Africa has opened two new visa processing centres in Chengdu and Guangzho which will further promote travel between the two countries.
“We have each expressed our views regarding the UN climate change conference COP21 which is currently taking place in Paris.
“The impacts of climate change affect everyone‚” Zuma stated.
He said African countries were already experiencing some of the worst effects of climate change.
“We must anticipate that these impacts will worsen over time‚ unless global greenhouse gas emissions are drastically reduced‚ with developed countries taking the lead.
“We urge all parties in Paris to put the interests of the world first and not allow national interests to make it difficult to reach an agreement.
“We remain optimistic that a legally binding agreement will be reached as we have no other choice. We have to act now before it is too late‚” Zuma said.
South Africa had also confirmed its support to China for the latter’s Presidency of the G20 and to “cooperate with them to further advance those issues we deem crucial to developing countries”.
“Naturally‚ we also touched upon the main developments in BRICS‚ since the Ufa Summit in July this year.
“We also discussed the need to promote global peace and security and condemned the recent acts of terror in France‚ Nigeria and other countries. Global action against terrorism is necessary within the ambit of the United Nations.
“In this regard‚ the reform and expansion of the UN Security Council is also critical for it to include other regions of the globe especially Africa with its one billion people‚” Zuma stated.
He concluded by saying that relations between China and South Africa were currently at their best level ever.