Boosting ties with our second-largest trading partner
Economy / 10 February 2020, 12:30pm / Helmo Preuss
CAPE TOWN – Jacob Moatshe, the Foreign Economic Representative of South Africa in Germany, on Friday urged South African companies to seize opportunities that would result from increased bilateral trade with Germany.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week paid a state visit to South Africa to strengthen trade ties.
Moatshe highlighted that Germany was very keen to facilitate South African entry into their market.
Moatshe was speaking last week during the official opening of the South African Pavilion at the Fruit Logistica trade show, which is regarded as the world's leading international trade fair for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry in Berlin, Germany, where South African companies were showing off their goods.
Moatshe said that the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy in Germany, together with the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), had recently launched a pilot programme called Fit for partnership with Germany.
“The programme is geared towards capacitating South African exporters to be export-ready to service the German and European markets at large.
"What it actually looks at is to do a kind of a hand-holding of the South African companies.
“This will facilitate integration of South African companies into the global value chain. Already 20 of our local companies have participated in the programme since last year in October,” Moatshe said.
He said that South Africa would be hosting a Bi-National Commission with Germany in March.
This is a platform that will look at implementing some of the key initiatives and programmes and to explore trade and investment opportunities.
“To put some kind of perspective in the whole thing, you need to look at the position of Germany within the global space.
"It ranks as the third largest importer of agricultural and food products in the world, and this places them as one of our key important markets within Europe.
"It also ranks as the second biggest global trade partner to South Africa after China and it is the fourth largest global economy,” he said.
China is South Africa's largest trading partner, followed by Germany and then the US.
In December 2019, Germany took 7.1 percent or R7.3 billion of our exports, while we sourced 7.4 percent or R6.5bn of our imports from Germany.
"In 2018, Germany and South Africa traded R215bn worth of goods. There are some 600 German companies operating in South Africa and they employ more than 100 000 people.
South Africa is the recipient of some two-thirds of all German investments on Africa.
German company Vestas has supplied most of the wind turbines operating in utility-scale wind farms in South Africa. Twelve wind farms are currently being constructed in South Africa, while over the next 10 years an average of 17 new wind farms will be brought on line each year.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Cyril Ramaphosa share a light moment during a joint press conference following their meeting at the Union Buildings in Pretoria last Thursday. | Kim Ludbrook EPA-EFE