Chinese President Xi Jinping (centre) and South African President Jacob Zuma leave for a meeting after an arrival ceremony for Xi at the Union Buildings, in Pretoria, on December 2, 2015. Picture: Karel Prinsloo

#Focac: Johannesburg - The South African government announced yesterday that 26 agreements worth R94 billion were signed yesterday at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, adding fresh impetus to bilateral co-operation between China and South Africa.

President Jacob Zuma hosted President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China, who is in South Africa on a state visit, his second since taking office in March 2013. Zuma and Xi will co-chair the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (Focac) summit, running from tomorrow through Saturday. The two presidents also evaluated the progress achieved by the two countries since the conclusion of the five to 10 year strategic programme for co-operation adopted in December 2014, during a state visit by Zuma to China.

In this regard, the two leaders received progress achieved in the implementation of strategic programme with specific reference to the six priority areas identified for 2015, as follows:

* Alignment of industries to accelerate South Africa’s industrialisation process;

* Enhancement of cooperation in Special Economic Zones (SEZs);

* Enhancement of marine co-operation;

* Infrastructure development

* Human Resources co-operation, and

* Financial co-operation.

The following agreements were signed yesterday:

Action plan on the strengthening of the joint working group between China and South Africa

In order to accelerate bilateral cooperation on major projects, both sides agreed to further strengthen the joint working group (JWG) through the action plan to emphasise the following aspects: locomotive procurement, civilian nuclear energy project, investment in renewable energy, investment cooperation in industrial parks, trade promotion, specifically focused on South African product expos and Chinese trade missions, promoting the export of South African products to China and cooperation in Black Industrialists Programmes; visa facilitation, financial cooperation and the upgrading of national electricity transmission and distribution system.

Memorandum of understanding on Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road

Both South Africa and China are committed to jointly promote the building of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (the Belt and Road) through the MoU on Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

China proposed the Belt and Road Initiative in an endeavour to uphold the spirit of the Silk Road, which includes peace, cooperation, openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning, mutual benefit and win-win results and to enrich its meaning with the characteristics of the new era.

Agreement between the Department of Environmental Affairs and the NDRC on Strengthening Co-operation in the Oceans Economy

The objective of the agreement is to create co-operation and a consultation platform and to promote cooperation on the oceans economy between the two countries and related organisations and enterprises. The agreement outlines broad areas of cooperation in the following areas i.e. maritime transport; offshore petroleum resources development; ocean drilling platform building; aquaculture and processing of fish products; port development/construction and operation; port industrial park development; skills development and capacity building; research, technology innovation and technology transfer; oceans environment conservation and management; and other areas of mutual interest as agreed by the parties.

Agreement on the waiver of visa requirements for diplomatic and official passport holders

The agreement allows for those citizens from South Africa and China who hold valid diplomatic or service passports, to enter into, exit from, transit through, or stay in the country of the other party for a period not exceeding 30 days to be exempt from the requirement of having to obtain a visa for the duration of that period. Accredited diplomatic and consular staff, as well as members of their families, shall not be required to obtain a visa for the duration of their accreditation.

Memorandum of understanding on co-operation in health and medical sciences between China and South Africa

The objective of the memorandum is to expand exchanges in the fields of public health, health care delivery systems and biomedical sciences, as well as establish regular cooperation between health institutions. Areas of cooperation include: public health services and biomedical research, medical research; primary health care, including family medicine; Quality assurance in health care and standards practice; education and training in, and research of, traditional medicine; healthy lifestyles; regulation of medicine, including traditional medicine; pre-hospital emergency medicine; HIV and AIDS and TB and MDR-TB treatment; Recruitment of health professionals; and Human resource development.

Memorandum of understanding on co-operation and development on science parks

Following the agreement on science and technology co-operation concluded between South Africa and China on March 30 1999, the five to 10-year strategic framework for co-operation between South Africa and China (2015-2024) signed on December 4 2014; and the China-Africa science and technology partnership programme that was launched in November 2011, the two countries have committed to continue to expand cooperation in the field of science parks on the basis of equality and mutual benefit in order to enhance bilateral research and development partnerships and innovation activities. The MoU on Science Park Cooperation highlights cooperation between the two countries in Business incubation, High-End Skills Development and ICT Research and Development Investment.

Memorandum of understanding between China and South Africa on the establishment of a China Cultural Centre in South Africa

China and South Africa wish to promote the cultural and exchanges expertise and co-operation between the two countries and strengthen the mutual understanding and friendship. The China Cultural Centre will provide quality and publicly-accessible cultural programmes through friendly collaboration with its partners.

Memorandum of understanding between the Department of Public Enterprises, South Africa, and the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the state council, China

The memorandum intends to facilitate strengthening cooperation in terms of infrastructure construction projects; information communications, as well as co-operation between Chinese and South African energy related companies. The agreement will create a legal framework for South African and Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) within their oversight control to conduct exchanges and cooperation in the areas of common interests; and as well as to share information and expertise in their respective enterprises.

Memorandum of understanding on anti-monopoly co-operation between the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China and the Economic Development Department of South Africa

The purpose of the memorandum is to enhance the partnership of the Ministry of Commerce of China and the Economic Development Department of South Africa by providing a sound mechanism for their communication and cooperation in the fields of competition law and policy, including enforcement. Exchanging information regarding developments in their respective competition legislation, enforcement and policy; Providing comments on drafts of each other’s competition law, regulations and other legal or guidance documents; exchanging information on issues including, but not limited to, definition of relevant markets, theories of harm, the competitive impact assessment and the design of remedies; Sharing competition law enforcement experience; Sharing practice and experience with respect to law enforcement capacity building; and Exchanging views on issues relating to international cooperation on competition law and policy.

Memorandum of co-operation between the South African Revenue Service of the Republic of South Africa and the Great Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China

The Memorandum of Cooperation between the SA Revenue Service and the Great Administration of Customs (GAC) of China, intends to strengthen cooperation in the field of administrative assistance in customs matters with the focus of improving mutual understanding of the Participants’ custom practices. The agreement will create a legal framework for the SARS and the Great Administration of Customs to promote communication and cooperation in customs administration; technology application, the formulation and implementation of laws and regulations; capacity building; and trade statistics. The memorandum will also pave the way for the participants to enhance cooperation by developing their capabilities through particular activities, projects and arrangements as well as facilitate cooperation in specific areas namely the exchange of trade statistics; trade facilitation and identifying and controlling trade risks; improving the existing collaboration in terms of anti-smuggling; exchanging customs valuation methodologies, capacity building as well as exchanging views in areas applicable to multilateral contexts.

Action plan on co-operation in human resource development between the Department of Higher Education and Training of the Republic of South Africa and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China

China offers 2000 training offered to South Africa for the period 2015-2020. The Department of Higher Education and Training and the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China drafted an action plan on Cooperation in Human Resource Development as part of the implementation programme for these training offers. The Action Plan will also assist in strengthening the promoting personnel exchanges, and enhancing mutual friendship between the two countries and is part of the Five-to-Ten-Year Strategic Programme for Cooperation between South Africa and the People’s Republic of China 2015-2024.

Report on the statistical discrepancies of merchandise trade between South Africa and China.

In recent years, the bilateral merchandise trade between South Africa and China has grown rapidly. From 2004-2014, the total bilateral trade value increased 28.4 percent (compound annual growth) according to Chinese statistics and 20.4 percent according to South African statistics. The discrepancies between the trade data of the two countries have been a concern and have had an effect on the objective of understanding and evaluating bilateral trade. Consequently, a joint working group on trade statistics analysis between South Africa and China was established in November 2010, comprised of the Department of Trade and Industry of South Africa, the SARS and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

Agreements involving state-owned enterprises:

Memorandum of understanding on strategic co-operation entered into between Eskom and State Corporation Of China.

The memorandum of Understanding between Eskom and State Grid Corporation of China intends facilitating the strengthening of cooperation between South Africa and China in the field of energy. The agreement will create a legal framework for Eskom and the SGCC to establish a strategic relationship in order to deepen their co-operation in international business and to exchange experience in technical, managerial and financial fields.

Loan Agreement between the China Development Bank Corporation and Eskom

Eskom and the China Development Bank will conclude a loan agreement to facilitate-South Africa-China investment and trade cooperation and to further support Eskom’s infrastructure construction. The loan facility is to the value of US$500 000 000.

Framework Co-operation Agreement between the China Export Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure) and Transnet.

Transnet and the Export and Credit Insurance Corporation of China (Sinosure) will conclude a framework agreement of cooperation. Sinosure is willing to provide insurance support to Transnet with respect to the financing activities with a total amount of no more than US$2.5 Billion (the “quota”) in the first phase of cooperation with Transnet, in relation to the procurement by Transnet of mechanical and electrical products and whole-set equipment from Chinese enterprises, and projects contracted by Chinese enterprises in South Africa, as well as operation, maintenance and other related services. The Quota will be preferably used for projects in South Africa, e.g. railway, ports and pipeline, etc., and other projects recognised by both Parties.

Strategic co-operation agreement to fund infrastructure and industrial development projects in South Africa and the rest of Africa between China Construction Bank Corporation and Industrial Corporation of South Africa.

The parties will fund infrastructure and industrial development projects, directly and indirectly in South Africa and the rest of Africa, subject to their internal funding processes. The parties will, inter alia, fund project opportunities in South Africa and the rest of Africa with the IDC taking underlying project risk and CCB taking project risk at the IDC level. This would involve debt funding. Sectors to be considered for funding include industrial infrastructure (which encompasses energy renewable and conventional) agro-processing; manufacturing and mining beneficiation; amongst others.

Memorandum of understanding between the Beijing Automotive Group and the Industrial Development Corporation.

It is the mutual intention of the parties to co-operate with each other by establishing motor vehicle manufacturing facilities in South Africa at a coastal city either Durban or East London. The manufacturing facility is intended to create jobs and sell motor vehicles in South Africa and the rest of the African continent in accordance with the terms of reference referred to in this MOU to make reasonable profit.

Co-operation framework agreement between the Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) and the China Communications Construction Company

The purpose of this agreement is to assist in establishing and developing a long-term friendly cooperation relationship between the Parties in order to fund and implement new projects in the water and sanitation sector in South Africa.

Private sector agreements:

Collaboration and framework agreement between Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Standard Bank-South Africa

The agreement between Standard Bank South Africa (SBSA) and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) will facilitate the raising of Rand denominated funding for the ICBC, which will be made available to strengthen the various sectors of the South African economy, with a particular focus on power and infrastructure. The agreement is worth up to R10 Billion over the next 5 years.

Co-operation agreement between Investec and the Export-Import Bank of China

On 2 December 2015, South Africa’s Investec Bank and the China Export-Import Bank will conclude a strategic co-operation Agreement aimed at strengthening and enhancing trade and economic cooperation between the two countries and industrial development. The agreement establishes a framework for developing a long-term business relationship between the two banks aimed at promoting cooperation in the areas of export finance, project finance, the internationalisation of the Chinese yuan renminbi and its use as a settlement currency in trade, and other finance fields. The two banks will further place special emphasis on cooperation in projects to enhance trade between China and South Africa in mechanical and electronic products, complete sets of equipment, high and new-technology products, energy, raw materials, agricultural products and other products consistent with the economic and industrial development goals of China and South Africa.

* This is an edited version of a statement issued by the The Presidency yesterday