Deputy Minister Sue van Der Merwe to Host Polish Counterpart for Political Consultations

 Pretoria – South African Deputy Foreign Minister Sue van der Merwe will on Monday 8 October 2007 host her Polish counterpart Under-Secretary of State Witold Waszczykowski for bilateral political, economic and trade consultations at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

 The annual political consultations will take place within the context of South Africa’s priority to consolidate bilateral political, economic and trade relations as well as multilateral relations with Poland.

 Poland is regarded as one of the countries in Central Europe with great strategic importance to South AfricaPoland is not only one of the strongest role players in the political and economic arenas in Central Europe, but also a new “emerging” power in the European Union.

 Issues on the agenda of discussions between Deputy Minister Sue van der Merwe and under-Secretary of State Witold Waszczykowski are expected to include, among others:

·        The status of bilateral political, economic and trade relations between both countries;

·        Skills development within the framework of ASGISA and JIPSA will be discussed;

·        Crisis and post-conflict situation in Africa;

·        United Nations – African Union relations including collaboration in peace-keeping efforts of the UN and the AU. 

·        United Nations Security Council issues with a focus on the Balkans and the Middle East; and

·        Preparations towards the European Union – African Summit in Lisbon, December 2007.

Bilateral Economic Relations

South Africa is among the top five African countries doing business with Poland.

 Bilateral trade between South Africa and Poland shows a healthy year on year growth of 40,35%, and amounted to almost US$482 million with a trade balance in favour of South Africa and exports from South Africa to Poland doubling.  This should be seen against the anticipated downward trend following adjustments to trade figures after Poland joined the EU.  Several South African and Polish enterprises are playing an important role in the promotion of the economic relations between the two countries.

South African foreign investment in Poland is concentrated in the brewing, paper and furniture manufacturing sectors i.e. South African Breweries (SABMiller) holds the controlling share in the company Kompania Piwowarska (KP), a leading Polish beer brewer.  MONDI EUROPE, a subsidiary of MONDI SA, owns the largest pulp and paper mill in Europe which is based in Swiecie, Poland.  The JD Group linked to STEINHOFF International, a South Africa furniture retailer exports to the whole of Europe.

 Although Polish investment in South Africa is not on the same level as South African investment in Poland there are moves towards reducing the gab. 

 The Gromada Tourist Co-operative, the second largest tourist consortium in Poland has not only invested in hotels in Cape Town but is also participating in the outbound tourist market in South Africa.  Companies involved in the production of aircraft, heavy industrial equipment, and mine rescue systems, and pharmaceutical and glassware are making their presence felt in the South African market.

 The main commodities in the bilateral trade remain the same.  The main exports to Poland during 2006 are machines, mechanical appliances, electrical equipment and parts, mineral products, base metals, vegetable products, vehicles, aircrafts, ships and related parts. 

 The main imports from Poland are machines and mechanical appliances, electrical equipment and parts, base metal, metal articles, chemical and related products, vegetable products,  wood, other fibrous material, pulp, cellulose and paper .products, plastic, stone, ceramics and concrete.

 Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853

 Media programme for Visit to South Africa by Polish Under-Secretary of State Witold Waszczykowski, nday 8 October 2007

For further information contact Manusha Pillai on 082 389 3587

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001

5 October 2007

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