Deputy President David Mabuza. FILE PHOTO: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

PRETORIA - Deputy President David Mabuza on Friday arrived in Shanghai, China, for the trade and investment leg of the 7th South Africa-China Bi-National Commission aimed at increasing economic ties between the two countries.

China remains South Africa's largest trading partner, and those strong ties should be increased, Mabuza said.

"Whereas South Africa and China enjoy solid economic relations, we are determined to increase the amount of trade and investment between the two countries particularly in the areas of agricultural produce, value-added goods, technology and investment in infrastructure development among others," he said.

About 26 companies invested R88 billion in capital expenditure in China between January 2003 and August 2019. On the other hand, 88 Chinese companies invested R116 billion in South Africa over the same period - according to government figures.

Mabuza's spokeswoman Matshepo Seedat said the existing strong ties would be elevated after this visit.

This year, the two countries celebrate the 21st anniversary of their diplomatic relations, cemented by a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement signed in 2010. 

"The agreement prioritised, amongst others, improving the structure of trade between South Africa and China by working towards a more balanced trade profile and encouraging trade in value-added manufactured products such as wool, chemical wood pulp and copper," said Seedat. 

During his time in Shanghai, Mabuza is scheduled to engage with close to 100 business leaders and representatives at the China-SA Business Forum, assuring them of the increased ease of doing business in South Africa as well as the many incentives adopted by his government to enable more direct foreign investment.

He will also officially open the South Africa import pavilion at the Greenland Global Community trading hub, "which allows tangible access from all over the world to buy more South African products and thus promote more trade and investment".

The deputy president will hold a bilateral meeting with the president of the New Development Bank, otherwise known as the BRICS Bank, whose headquarters are in Shanghai, as well as South African officials who are in the employ of the bank.

Mabuza is accompanied by several deputy ministers and other senior government officials.

- African News Agency (ANA)