SA seeks to strike trade balance at BRICS Summit

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JOHANNESBURG, July 19 – South African government will be working to tackle the trade imbalance and also address complimentary trade between it and its BRICS partners at the crucial upcoming Summit next week, officials said on Thursday.

Lerato Mataboge, deputy director-general at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), said that South Africa’s largest export destination was China followed by India, Brazil and Russia, and the trend was the same with imports, with China as the largest source of imports into South Africa.

Mataboge said that top exports for South Africa to China are iron ores, ferrochromium ores and manganese while imports are cell-phones, portable computers, machines and footwear.

“One of the concerns for South Africa in this summit is to find a balance of the export basket as the country still exports a lot of primary goods to BRICS countries while importing value-added products from them,” Mataboge said.

“During South Africa’s chairmanship of BRICS, the country will advance trade areas such as commerce, intellectual property rights, trade in services, investment cooperation, supporting the multilateral trade systems, and more. South Africa’s trade with BRICS countries totalled R461 billion in 2017, a slight increase from R425 billion the previous year, but also a significant increase from R203 billion in 2010.”

Mataboge, together with officials from the department of international relations, provincial economic development, and Brand South Africa, were briefing the media on Thursday about the country’s state of readiness to host the 10th BRICS Leaders Summit in Johannesburg from 25 to 27 July after the country took over the rotational chairmanship in January. South Africa became a BRICS member in 2011.

The BRICS Summit is convened annually with discussions representing spheres of political and socio-economic coordination in which Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa (BRICS) have identified several business opportunities and areas of cooperation.

Ambassador Professor Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s advisor in the BRICS Summit, said: “We hope the Summit will bring more collaboration between the member states and focus on inclusive development and peace.”

The Presidency has already confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa will host President of China Xi Jinping next week Tuesday and they will both partake in the BRICS Summit.

– African News Agency (ANA)