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SAA to start direct flights to Beijing

Sep 30 2011 10:03 Sapa

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Johannesburg - South African Airways (SAA) will now fly directly to Beijing, China, the presidency said on Friday.

"In this regard, the two governments will work together expeditiously to resolve all outstanding issues including the allocation of more favourable landing and take-off time slots to the SAA," the presidency said in a statement.

The agreement follows an official visit by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to China where he held talks with his counterpart Xi Jinping.

The discussions were aimed at furthering and consolidating political and economic ties.

South Africa and China signed a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2010.

To achieve shared sustainable economic growth, the two countries agreed to work together to promote balanced and stable trade and investment between them.

"The government of China undertook to facilitate more imports from South Africa, especially high value added products," said the presidency.

These goods included agricultural products such as wines, cereals, canned fruit and beef; chemicals (butanol); plastics (polypropylene); steel; aluminium (alloys and coils); automotive (tooling products, shock absorbers and filters); mining safety equipment and manufacturing and wood pulp.

China gave an undertaking to facilitate the entry of these products to the vast Chinese market in keeping with the commitment made in terms of the partnership agreement.

The countries also signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of geology and mineral resources, and a financial cooperation agreement between the Development Bank of South Africa and the Chinese Development Bank.

Cooperation on strategic economic infrastructure projects in the transport and energy sectors on the African continent were discussed, as well as China increasing investment on vocational training centres in South Africa and scholarship allocation for South African students to study in China.

Motlanthe concluded deliberations with a courtesy visit to President Hu Jintao.

He is expected to arrive back in South Africa on Saturday.

saa  |  kgalema motlanthe  |  china  |  trade  |  sa economy
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