SA-China trade shows 'healthy annual increase'

The South Africa/China binational commission was an example of the deepening relations between the two countries, Deputy President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.

Zuma and his counterpart, Zeng Qinghong, will sign various bilateral agreements including agreements on education, on citrus exports from South Africa to China and between Sasol and a consortium of Chinese companies.

In a speech prepared for delivery at the opening of the commission in Pretoria, Zuma said South Africa and China enjoyed a very brisk and rapidly growing relationship.

“Our bilateral trade is showing a very healthy annual increase, from R9,3-billion in 1990 to R23,3-billion in 2003.”

He said investments by leading local companies in China currently amounted to R4-billion.

China and South Africa also interacted on a number of other issues including the peaceful utilisation of nuclear energy, mining, water and natural resources, to culture and human resource development.

Zuma said South Africa and China shared many objectives and held common positions on many issues.

“We are of one mind on issues such as the restructuring of the United Nations system, the reform of the global trading system and enhanced South-South co-operation.

He said the China-Africa co-operation forum provided a platform to further develop this relationship.

Zuma also welcomed the renewed commitment from Beijing to participate actively in African peacekeeping operations.

Since beginning economic reforms in 1978, China has become one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Over the past 10 years its gross domestic product has grown at an average annual rate of nearly 10%.

Bilateral trade in the first quarter of this year amounted to $1,67-billion, an increase of 66,6% from the same period in 2003. - Sapa

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