Companies must seize bilateral trade opportunities with Germany, says SA envoy
DURBAN - Companies must seize the opportunities resulting from increased bilateral trade talks with Germany, South Africa's foreign economic representative in Germany, Jacob Moatshe, said on Friday.
He was speaking during the official opening of the South African Pavilion at the Fruit Logistica trade show in Berlin.
Moatshe said that while trade statistics were in favour of Germany, South Africa was narrowing the deficit.
Bilateral trade between the nations has risen from €15-billion in 2016 to €18-billion in 2018.
“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 is the fourth largest global economy,” he said.
Germany was "very keen" to facilitate entry into their market, he added.
Recently, the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy in Germany together with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 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 SA companies into the global value chain. Twenty of our local companies participated in the programme last year October,” said Moatshe.
In March, South Africa will be hosting a bi-national commission with Germany - a platform that will look at implementing some of the key initiatives and programmes and to explore trade and investment opportunities.
“The Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs from Germany will be leading a high level delegation including companies that will be participating in some of the binational commission activities including business forums. The commission is one of the key platforms that is geared to strengthening collaboration between South Africa and Germany in a number of sectors, including energy, trade, education and science and technology,” he said.
The Fruit Logistica trade show is regarded as the world’s leading international trade fair for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry.
German chancellor Angela Merkel was in South Africa this week on a two-day working visit. During talks with president Cyril Ramaphosa, she said that the country should look to renewable energy for power generation, and added that Germany was willing to help South Africa make the transition. Her comments come as power utility Eskom recently announced loadshedding could be expected for the next 18 months.
Over 600 German businesses are based in South Africa.
- African News Agency (ANA)