Minister Dlamini Zuma to Launch SA-Belarus Joint Commission

Accra - South African Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will today Wednesday 4 July 2007 depart from Accra, Ghana for Minsk, Belarus for bilateral discussions and the launch of the South Africa - Belarus Joint Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Co-operation (ITEC) scheduled for Thursday - Saturday 5-7 July 2007. Minister Dlamini Zuma will be hosted by her Belarusian counterpart Foreign Minister Sergei Nikolayevich Martynov.

Minister Dlamini Zuma, accompanied by Minister Buyelwa Sonjica and Deputy Minister Rob Davies, will visit Belarus within the context of South Africa's commitment to consolidate bilateral political, economic and trade relations with Belarus.

Minister Dlamini Zuma was in Accra, Ghana where she provided support to President Thabo Mbeki during the African Union Heads of State and Government Summit from Sunday - Tuesday 1-3 July 2007.

Bilateral discussions between Ministers Dlamini Zuma and Sergei Martynov are expected to include, among others:

  • The status of bilateral political, economic and trade relations between both countries including areas of future engagement and co-operation;
  • Belarusian support for the promotion of the African agenda;
  • Nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament;
  • The conflict in the Middle East; and
  • Co-operation between the two countries in multilateral fora including the United Nations and the comprehensive reform of the United Nations.

The South Africa - Belarus ITEC was signed into law in August 2006 and will be launched in Minsk on Thursday 5 July 2007.

The ITEC consists of the following sub-committees: Minerals and Energy, Science and Technology and Trade, Investment and Banking. These committees will investigate further areas of co-operation between both countries.

During her visit, Minister Dlamini Zuma will on Friday 6 July 2007 receive the award of Honorary Professor of the Belarusian State University.

While in Belarus, Minister Dlamini Zuma is also expected to pay a courtesy call on President Aleksander Lukashenko, meet with the Chairperson of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly, and the Deputy Chairperson of the "Belarusian Women's Union".

Minister Dlamini Zuma is expected to return to South Africa on Sunday 8 July 2007.

Bilateral Economic Relations

The potential for economic development and interaction with South Africa remains significant, and has, and still could present South African businesses with excellent opportunities.

Current bilateral trade as per Belarusian 2006 statistics is US$ 15 million. South African imports of potassium fertilisers (main import), refrigerators, flax fabrics and spare truck and tractors parts amount to US$ 6 Million. Belarus also exports fully assembled low cost agricultural tractors and large dump trucks for the mining industry. South African exports of diamonds, veneer sheets, organic chemicals, vehicle spare parts and capital goods amounted to US$ 4 Million.

Trade between South Africa and Belarus (all figures in ZAR)

All figures R' 000

SA Exports 1 191 1 8411 590 2 4102 4012 806
SA Imports2 2926 260 2 68120 2469 04212 315
Total Trade 3483 81014271 226561144315 121

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853

Dpartment of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

4 July 2007

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