Trade between South Africa and Vietnam is growing
4 August 2015
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted Mr Hoang Trung Hai, Deputy Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Cape Town on an official visit to South Africa on Tuesday 4 August 2015.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says the South African government aims to narrow its trade deficit with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam by boosting exports to the country.
The Deputy President said this shortly after hosting the Vietnamese Deputy Minister Hoang Trung Hai at Tuynhuys in Cape Town on Tuesday evening.
“We welcome the increase in volume in bilateral trade which has now reached R13.4 billion in 2014, having come up from R3.7 billion in 2011 and we agreed that substantial potential still exists to broaden and deepen trade between the two countries.
“We also noted the considerable trade deficit that South Africa has and agreed that we should focus on increasing our economic interaction with Vietnam and that it should be more balanced as we find a number areas where South Africa can increase its export goods to Vietnam and Vietnam will start looking closer at South Africa to increase its own investment opportunities in South Africa,” he said.
Deputy President Ramaphosa said some of the areas South Africa would look at in order to boost its exports will be in the agricultural sector, especially in relation to products such as fruit and beef.
South Africa and Vietnam forged bilateral ties in 1993 and ever since then their relationship has grown.
There are 13 bilateral cooperation agreements signed between the two countries, covering cooperation in the areas of foreign relations, trade and investment, defence, consular affairs, tourism, water resources, biodiversity conservation and protection and combating crime.
The Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister said the Republic continues to enjoy a healthy relationship with South Africa, especially in the area of biodiversity.
Ever since Vietnam joined forces with South Africa in the fight against rhino poaching a few years ago, it has made several arrests and some of the recovered rhino horns have been returned to South Africa.
A massive public awareness campaign has been rolled out to dispel the belief that rhino horns and other animals like bears can help cure certain diseases.
He said one of the country’s major telecommunications companies was looking to expand its reach into the South African market.
“As for telecommunication, a telecoms group in Vietnam is interested in the South African market and you can see they are keen to participate in this market,” he said.
Deputy President Ramaphosa in his remarks about historical relations between the two countries said, "We first started relating to Vietnam 60 years ago when the two peoples met in Indonesia at the Bandung conference. This is the year when we celebrate 60 years of the Bandung conference when many leaders in the world got together to agree to work together to bring an end to colonialism in the world and unleash the forces of freedom in their various countries.
That it is when the delegation that was led by some of our leaders met with leaders of Vietnam in Bandung and that started a relationship between the two countries and the two peoples.
Over time our relationship has been strengthened on a number of occasions.
We recall very fondly how former President of the African National Congress Mr Oliver Regional Tambo visited Vietnam in 1978 and that time Vietnam placed their support, to supporting the struggle of the people of South Africa to rid ourselves of apartheid oppression. That was the key moment in the history of the African National Congress.
Throughout the years of our struggle, we as South Africans were greatly inspired by leaders such as Ho Chi Minh who is an icon of the Vietnamese people and the inspiration that we drew from Ho Chi Minh was such that it propelled our people to strengthen their resolve to defeat the apartheid system."