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Cape Town - South Africa's Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Gratitude Bulelani Magwanishe arrived in Russia on Wednesday to attend the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). 

The forum takes place from 1-3 June and the programme will include the BRICS Business Forum and Russia-Africa Round Table, where Magwanishe is set to participate. A statement from the dti described the SPIEF as an annual international conference dedicated to economic and business issues facing Russia, Africa and BRICS, held with the direct support of the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. 

According to Magwanishe, trade between South Africa and Russia has been enhanced recently by the imposed sanctions on Russia by both the European Union and Turkey, allowing South Africa to capitalise on trade and investment opportunities. 

"The last four years we had a trade deficit with Russia, but in 2016 our total trade was valued at R7.9 billion with a slight surplus in favour of South Africa," he said. 

Magwanishe's programme will include meetings with the President of the St Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Yuriy Burchakov, Head of Africa Business Initiative Squire Patton, Nataliya Zaiser, and Chief Executive Office of Marine Express, Andrey Kuzmin. SPIEF attracts international participants, including government and business leaders from the emerging economic powers, as well as leading global voices from academia, the media, and civil society.