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By Brian Sokutu

Senior Print Journalist


SA eyes boost in trade with China at November expo

Senior officials strategize for increased exports and investment opportunities at the China International Import Expo.


South Africa wants to use the November China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, to increase trade and exports to the Asian economic giant, according to a senior government official.

Addressing the CIIE promotion conference in Johannesburg, department of trade, industry and competition deputy director-general for exports Lerato Matabogesaid: “Our focus for the future is on continuing to increase our trade – ensuring that South Africa exports more manufactured and value-added products to China.

Change composition of trade

“We want to change the composition of our trade.

“Two-way trade between the two countries last year was in excess of R900 billion and Chinese investment in South Africa is now close to R200 billion in sectors such as mining, telecommunications and manufacturing.

“Our continued aim is to expand South Africa’s export of both manufactured and agricultural products to China – raising Chinese levels of investment in South African industrial activities.”

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Fast lane of economic and trade cooperation

Chinese embassy minister counsellor in South Africa Liu Yu said the expo has provided “a fast lane of economic and trade cooperation through which global goods and services can enter the Chinese market faster”.

“Against the backdrop of weak momentum for global economic recovery, surging unilateralism and trade protectionism, the CIIE is like a huge magnetic field,” said Liu.

“It does not only attract high-quality products, advanced technologies and high-end services to China, but also brings precious opportunities of market, investment and growth to the world.

“Since 2018, the CIIE has been held for six consecutive times, becoming a window for China to build the new development paradigm – a platform to promote high-level opening up and an international public product shared by the world.

“China-SA economic and trade cooperation is a wonderful chapter in the relations between the two countries.

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“In 2023, the bilateral trade volume reached $55.62 billion, accounting for 20% of the total trade between China and Africa.

“China has been South Africa’s largest trading partner for 15 consecutive years and South Africa has been China’s largest trading partner in Africa for 14 consecutive years.”

Ever-stronger economic collaboration and trade ties

Luthando Vuba, head: international trade, business and commercial banking at the Standard Bank Group, said: “The past decade has seen Africa and China, develop ever-stronger economic collaboration and trade ties.

“Long may this partnership continue.”