SA, UK aim to double bilateral trade

2011-06-10 12:18

Johannesburg - International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and her British counterpart have recommitted to the target of doubling bilateral trade between the two countries by 2015, her department said on Friday.

“During interactions, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane and her British counterpart William Hague committed both countries to work together to build strong, sustainable and inclusive economies that promote national economic stability, regional and international growth, and bilateral business links between South Africa and the United Kingdom,” spokesperson Clayson Monyela said.

“In this regard, ministers recommitted to the target of doubling bilateral trade between the United Kingdom and South Africa by 2015. In particular, they agreed to focus on building trade and investment in the following sectors: infrastructure and engineering; higher education and skills; energy; natural resources; ICT (information and communication technology); financial services; and health.”

The UK also committed £76m between 2011 and 2015 to support the South African government in boosting growth and jobs, improving health, tackling climate change and reducing violence against women.

“The United Kingdom also announced a £1.5m Prosperity Fund to support projects in South Africa that are linked to low carbon growth, trade and prosperity.”

Monyela described the minister’s visit to the United Kingdom as “successful“. She attended the ninth SA-UK Bilateral Forum in London.

“Since the last Bilateral Forum held in Pretoria in 2008, the relationship between the two countries has entered a dynamic new phase.

“President Zuma’s state visit to the United Kingdom in March 2010 was significant in setting challenging new targets.”

He said South Africa was an important partner for the UK in a number of key areas.

“Ties between the two countries go much further, and include shared language and cultural links, similar systems of law and finance, and a shared passion for sport. Both countries also share a common interest in promoting trade and a rules-based international system.”

Nkoana-Mashabane’s delegation included Environmental and Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu, Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Elizabeth Thabethe and senior government officials.

She returns to South Africa on Friday.