Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aziz Pahad to Host Spanish Counterpart, Ramon Gil-Casares, Pretoria, South Africa, 2 - 3 February 2004

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aziz Pahad will host his Spanish counterpart, Ramon Gil-Casares for bilateral political and economic discussions in Pretoria from Monday, 2nd - Tuesday, 3rd February 2004.

During an official visit to Spain from 5-8 June 2003, Deputy Minister Pahad invited Deputy Minister Gil-Casares to visit South Africa in 2004 for a subsequent round of consultations, together with an interdepartmental delegation.

Deputy Minister Ramon Gil-Casares will be accompanied by a delegation of senior officials representing the various priority sectors of bilateral co-operation programmes between the two countries, ie tourism and environmental affairs, trade and industry, science and technology, arts and culture, home affairs, defence and cooperation.

This visit also follows the successful visit of Deputy President Jacob Zuma to Spain from 23-25 September 2003 during which it was decided to implement programmes to strengthen co-operation in the fields mentioned above.

During this visit, Deputy Ministers Pahad and Gil-Casares will also hold their annual ministerial discussions in terms of the Memorandum of Understanding on Consultation that was concluded in 2000.

Issues on the ministerial agenda, include, among others: the consolidation of bilateral relations between both countries; the transformation of SADC; the operationalisation of the African Union (AU) and the implementation of NEPAD; conflict resolution endeavours on the continent; the status of European Union (EU) / Africa dialogue; developments in Europe, the situations in the Mediterranean Basin including the Middle East, Iran, Iraq, Syria and North Africa; co-operation in the multilateral arena including matters of United Nations reform, the global campaign against terrorism and recent developments in World Trade Organisation Talks.

Bilateral Economic Relations

For the period 1999-2002, Spain was the 18th largest investor to South Africa having invested US$ 246m (R2, 020 bn). Spain is the 6th export destination for South Africa for 2003 (up from 10th position in 2002 with 10,9% annual growth). Spain is one of the few EU Member States with whom South Africa maintains a healthy positive trade balance, ie 5th position for 2003 up from 10th position in 2002.

2003
2002
2001
2000
Exports to Spain Rm
1.2
6.4
4.6
3.5
Imports from Spain Rm
0.6
3.5
2.4
2.1
Trade Balance Rm
0.6
2.9
2.2
1.4

(Source: DTI web site)

In addition, Spain was the fourth largest new investor to South Africa for 2002 with the main investment being that of a consortium of companies, ¨Dragados y Construcciones¨ involved in the construction of the N4 Bakwena Platinum highway. Spain is also tendering for the Coega Plant. One of the largest Spanish retail chains, El Cortes Ingles has invited South Africa to be its theme country for February 2005. This would entail the purchasing of products estimated at R90 million from South Africa. This would present South Africa with an excellent opportunity for promote its products on the Spanish market in the medium to long term. The first mission of buyers will visit South Africa in March 2004.

South African companies already in Spain include: South African Breweries (SAB), Barlows, Sappi, Anglo American, Safmarine and Alexander Forbes.

Spain has regularly invested in various strategic projects in South Africa. During a visit by Minister Valli Moosa to Spain from 3-7 September 2003 the continued co-operation between Spain and South Africa in the tourism sector was investigated. In this regard Spain is already funding the Tourism Academy in Johannesburg and has donated R20 million, with a specific interest on building capacity in previously disadvantaged communities involved in the tourism sector. During the visit by Minister Moosa a Declaration of Intent on Cooperation in the Field of Tourism was signed, which also entails continued support for the Tourism Academy.

Other projects include rural literacy initiatives, human resource development, and diplomatic training projects. Other areas that have been identified for continued bilateral cooperation include tourism, health, fishing, environmental affairs and diplomacy.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853.

? Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001

1 February 2004

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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa