South Africa, Slovakia to boost economic relationsPretoria - South Africa and Slovakia have signed a joint declaration to boost bilateral economic relations at the 4th session of the Slovakia–SA Joint Council for Economic Cooperation.
The South African side was led by the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Elizabeth Thabethe, and the Slovakian delegation was led by State Secretary of Economy, Pavol Pavlis.
Thabethe said the principal objective of the session was to establish a roadmap for bilateral cooperation focused on increasing the volume of trade, enhancing full cooperation in the field of industry and on encouraging and facilitating the expansion of bilateral investment.
She said this was done by identifying the economic and investment opportunities in the respective countries.
Thabethe added that both countries noted the large contribution of the automotive sectors to bilateral trade and emphasised the importance of promoting the diversification of the sectors and products traded between the two countries.
“In light of the weak global economy, we have agreed to develop closer cooperation in the areas including the following sectors, automotives, including automotive components, agro-processing, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, renewable and nuclear energy, ICT, tourism, glass industry, fresh and processed foods, as well as wines,” Thabethe added.
The parties also agreed to share information concerning their countries’ official international fairs or exhibitions.
Thabethe said this will encourage interaction between companies from both countries in global events, which could result in increased business.
Thabethe together with her counterpart Pavlis have agreed to evaluate the signed declaration every six months.
Total trade between South Africa and Slovakia has been increasing consistently over the years.
In 2011, bilateral exchange of goods between Slovakia and South Africa amounted to R792 million, an increase of 14 percent in comparison to 2010 (R720 million).
South African exports to Slovakia in 2011 amounted to R13 million, an increase of 18.1 percent in comparison to 2010.
Slovak exports to South Africa amounted to R779.5 million, an increase of 9.6 comparing to 2010 (R709.7 million). Currently the balance of trade is in favour of Slovakia by R766. 5 million. – SAnews.gov.za