Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. File picture

Shanghai - Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has arrived in Shanghai in China for the 1st China International Import Expo (CIIE) scheduled for November 5 to 10, the trade and industry department (dti) said on Sunday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the hosting of the expo last year. The aim of the event was "to show China’s intention of firmly supporting trade liberalisation and economic globalisation and actively opening the market to the world", the dti said in a statement.

Enterprises from over 100 countries and regions were expected to participate in this first CIIE. Supporting activities such as supply-demand matchmaking meetings, seminars, and product releases would be held during the expo.

Davies was leading a delegation of 27 South African organisations, including provincial investment agencies, special economic zones, export councils, and private companies. The delegation was funded by the dti through the export marketing and investment assistance (EMIA) scheme, the department said.

Davies said South Africa would participate in the three main platforms of the CIIE - country pavilion for trade and investment, enterprise and business, and the fair international trade forum. These platforms would promote South Africa’s trade and investment capabilities.

South Africa would also host an investment forum on the margins of the CIIE. The focus would be on addressing potential investors and importers of finished products manufactured in South Africa, the dti said.

Sectors participating included agro-processing, footwear and leather, engineering, petro-chemicals, railway components, defence, and information and communications technology. 

Total trade between South Africa and China grew from R205 billion in 2012 to R318 billion by the end of 2017. The highest peak of total trade registered a growth rate of 24 percent in 2013, due to China’s increased appetite for South Africa’s raw commodities, which decreased to only six percent in 2017.

The trade balance soared from R35 billion in 2012 to its peak of R105 billion in 2015, and then decreased to R87 billion by the end of 2017. The trade deficit was due to "imbalances in the composition of trade between the two countries where South Africa continues to export primary products and commodities to China while we continue to import manufactured and high-tech products from China", the dti said.

African News Agency (ANA)