The most productive ITEC to date
18 November 2016
South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and the Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Mr Sergey Donskoy, co-chaired the 14th Session of the Joint Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) between South Africa and the Russian Federation.
At the successful conclusion of ITEC Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said that ITEC remains the main vehicle that drives the bilateral relations between South Africa and the Russian Federation, it has proven to be an effective instrument in contributing directly to improved two-way trade and investment, as well as critical skills development and technology exchanges between the two countries.
South Africa’s exports to Russia were estimated at R 2,4 billion between January and July 2016 which was composed of vegetables at R1,1 billion; Products such as Iron and Steel at R 502 million and Mineral Products at R369 million. These figures are expected to increase in the second half of the year and change the negative trade balance that South Africa has been experiencing with its partners in the North.
There are 38 Bilateral Agreements and MOUs that have been signed between the two countries. There are 14 more agreements and MOUs in the pipeline. All these will be put into a matrix to have an implementation plan.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said that Embassies and Missions exist to promote trade, investment and tourism and that there were 15 000 tourist arrivals from Russia in 2015 which is a significant increase from the figures for 2014 (10 410 arrivals).
ITEC Sub-Committees in the sectors of trade, investment and banking; mineral resources; energy; science and technology; water resources; agriculture, forestry and fisheries; and education were held. A new Sub-Committee on Communications also met for the first time and identified areas of potential co-operation between our two countries.
Key priorities for South Africa included Platinum Group Metals, skills development, agricultural co-operation, science and technology and co-operation on nuclear energy.
The Minister said that sectors such as Arts and Culture are also important in enhancing the strategic partnership between South Africa and Russia. The SA-Russia Cultural Season was inaugurated in South Africa recently with a performance by Ossipov Academic Folk Orchestra.