Minister Dlamini Zuma to hold Discussions with Italian Foreign Minister

Pretoria – South African Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will on Wednesday 03 September 2008 depart for Italy where she will hold discussions with the Italian Foreign Minister Dr Franco Frattini on Saturday 06 September 2008 at Lake Como, north of Milan.

Minister Dlamini Zuma will hold discussions with Minister Frattini within the context of South Africa’s commitment to strengthening bilateral political and economic relations with Italy within the broad framework of advancing North-South relations

Accordingly, issues on the agenda of discussions between Ministers Dlamini Zuma and Frattini are expected to include, among others:

  • Bilateral political and economic issues;
  • the African Agenda including amongst others the situation in the DRC, Sudan and Zimbabwe;
  • multilateral issues including the main outcomes of the EU/SA Summit held on 25 July 2008 and Economic Partnership Agreements; and
  • international issues of mutual concern such as the outcomes of the G8 Summit held in Hokkaido, the update on World Trade Organisation negotiations and the Middle East peace process

While in Lake Como Minister Dlamini Zuma is also scheduled to address the round table discussions at the annual Ambrosetti Forum which will take place on Friday and Saturday, 05-06 August 2008.

The Ambrosetti Forum was started in 1975 by Dr Alfredo Ambrosetti as an informal discussion group amongst friends, politicians, financiers and business people from across the world to debate the key issues of the day.

The theme of the 2008 Ambrosetti Forum is: Intelligence on the World, Europe and Italy and topics of discussion include:

  • the Economic outlook
  • Today the World of Tomorrow – Scientific and Technological Developments;
  • Competing Globally;
  • Energy and Climate Change;
  • The Agenda for Europe:  Institutional Developments, Economy and Competitiveness;
  • Leadership in the World in the Coming Years; and
  • Cities as a Driver for Growth.

Bilateral Political Relations

South Africa and Italy enjoy good continued high level political interaction at both bilateral and multilateral forums, with the latest having been the bilateral meeting held between South African President Thabo Mbeki and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, at the latter’s request, on the fringes of the Hokkaido G8 Summit in July.

South Africa and Italy also have agreements on bilateral co-operation in many areas of mutual interest including in defence, health, air services, science and technology, safety cooperation, arts and culture and film co-production.

Bilateral Economic Relations

Italy ranks amongst South Africa’s top ten trading partners and South African exports to Italy are dominated by precious and non-ferrous metals; basic iron and steel and ferro-alloys; coal and quarried stone/granite.

South African imports from Italy consist mainly of machine tools, auto vehicles and components thereof, industrial machinery, jewellery and telecommunications equipment.

According to figures provided by the Department of Trade and Industry total trade between South Africa and Italy amounted to almost R26 billion in 2007.

Italy was South Africa’s 10th biggest foreign market in 2007, importing goods and services to the value of over R10.3 billion, an increase from over R9.3 billion in 2006.

In 2007 Italy was South Africa’s 9th biggest foreign source of imports totalling more than R15.5 billion, up from over R13.9 billion in 2006.

South African figures exclude gold and certain minerals, thus indicating a negative trade balance for South Africa of R5.328 billion in 2007, whereas Italian figures express total trade indicating a balance in South Africa’s favour.

Italy also ranks 3rd as South Africa’s investment partner and latest statistics show that investments from Italy to South Africa amounted to € 38 million (R 299 million) in 2005 and € 44 million (R 353 million) in 2004.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 0829904853

Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X 152

03 September 2008


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