President Thabo Mbeki Arrives in Chile Ahead of State Visit, Tuesday, 7 - Wednesday, 8 June 2005

Santiago - South African President and Mrs. Thabo Mbeki, accompanied by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad, Minister Mosiuoa Lekota, Deputy Minister Lindiwe Hendriks and a senior government officials' delegation arrived in Chile, today, Tuesday 7 June 2005 ahead of the scheduled state visit to the country on Tuesday - Wednesday, 7-8 June 2005.

The visit is aimed at strengthening the political and economic relations between South Africa and Chile in the context of building South-South relations whilst mobilising further support for NEPAD and African peace initiatives.

President Mbeki will later today hold political and economic discussions with Chilean President Ricardo Lagos Escobar to discuss, among others:

· The status of bilateral political and economic relations between both countries and ways of expanding already strong relations;
· The co-operation between South Africa and Chile in advancing the developmental agenda of the South;
· African developments including NEPAD
· Co-operation of the defence forces with the focus on the areas of peacekeeping and disaster management;
· People-to-people co-operation through culture, sport and academic exchanges; and
· The reform of global governance including the United Nations and all its institutions.

President Mbeki will also have an opportunity to hold discussions with the President of the Supreme Court Marcos Libedinsky and interact with captains of industry during a business luncheon hosted by the President of the Santiago Chamber of Commerce Carlos Jorquiera.

During the visit, President Mbeki will be declared the Guest of Honour of the City of Santiago before being awarded an Honorary Doctorate at the University of Chile.

On Wednesday 8 June 2005, President Mbeki is scheduled to address a joint sitting of the Chilean Houses of Congress - the Senate and Chamber of Deputies - in Valparaiso.

Bilateral Economic Relations

Rapid growth in recent years has seen large foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into Chile. It is estimated that about US$8 billion in FDI is related to companies with South African links, like Anglo-American and Liberty - Mutual.

While South Africa is a modest market for Chilean exports, South Africa is, by far, Chile's largest African trading partner with 60 percent of Chile's exports to Africa destined for South Africa. Bilateral trade between South Africa and Chile is concentrated in the primary and semi-processed metal, chemical and agricultural (herbicide/insecticide) sectors. The top export from South Africa by far is steel and steel products, which amounts to 61,6 percent of total exports.


 South African ExportsSouth African ImportsTotal Bilateral Trade
2004US$85 700 000US$48 000 000US$133 700 000
2003US$57 7000 000US$58 200 000US$115 900 000
2002US$46 946 674US$36 423 070US$83 369 744
2001US$52 999 000US$32 941 000US$85 940 000

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853
Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
7 June 2005


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