South Africa and Czech Republic recommitted to boost trade relations
South Africa and the Czech Republic have recommitted themselves to further enhance trade and economic relations. The commitment was made yesterday in Prague, Czech at the end of the second session of the Czech Republic – South Africa Joint Committee for Economic Cooperation ("Joint Committee") meeting.
South Africa's Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry
, Ms Elizabeth Thabethe and her counterpart Mr Pavel Šolcl, who co-chaired the Joint Committee, signed a declaration on behalf of the two countries. The declaration speaks to the need to strengthening cooperation between South Africa and the Czech Republic.
Deputy Minister Thabethe says that both countries reiterated the role of the Joint Committee and committed to promoting co-operation between business enterprises of the two sides and to oversee development of bilateral economic co-operation in various fields.
"We shared the view that at the time, when the current financial and economic crisis negatively affects many countries, concerted international efforts are needed to create a more conducive environment for economic and business cooperation. The two Sides shared the view that solutions should also be sought in the promotion of multilateral and inter-regional trade" said Thabethe.
She also said that the meeting stressed the importance of the strategic partnership between the European Union and the Republic of South Africa.
"We support the process of identifying further opportunities for encouraging trade and investment relationship between the European Union and Southern African region, including a comprehensive and balanced Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between EU and Southern African Development Community (SADC). Following the Joint Communiqué, adopted at the occasion of the fifth EU-South Africa Summit, held in Brussels in September 18th, 2012, we hope that pending issues in the negotiations can be resolved and the EPA could be finalised as soon as possible" she said.
According to Deputy Minister Thabethe, both countries agreed to exert every possible effort to enhance the performance of bilateral trade on a mutually beneficial basis and to encourage private sectors from the two countries to actively participate in efforts to boost trade.
"In an effort to diversify bilateral trade, we have proposed to the Czech side to further develop bilateral trade in other potential products, such as machinery, filtering or purifying machinery, boilers, electrical equipments, textiles & textiles articles, automotive and automotive components, furniture, plates, sheet, strip and foil, nickel alloy, wines and fruit juices and processed food." added Thabethe.
She further said that the two countries agreed that the promotion of mutual trade and economic cooperation is the objective shared by the two governments.
"The Czech Side informed us that South Africa was included in a targeted group covering so-called "Countries of Interest" in the “2012-2020 Export Strategy of the Czech Republic", approved by the Czech Government. This new Export Strategy is the main instrument for diversifying and increasing the Czech foreign trade and promoting mutual trade, investment and other economic activities with countries included in the said document”, she concluded.
Finally the South African delegation expressed concern about the Czech Republic/Schengen visa regime affecting business trips to Czech Republic and the Czech Side took note and will inform the relevant authorities.
Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
Issued by: The Department of Trade and Industry
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