South Africa and Spain to Boost Political and Economic Ties in Annual Consultations in Pretoria

Pretoria – South African Deputy Foreign Minister Ms Sue van der Merwe will on Friday 21 November 2008 co-host with the Spanish Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Mr Angel Lossada the South Africa – Spain Annual Consultations at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria.

The SA – Spain Annual Consultations take place with a view to strengthening bilateral political, economic and trade links between the two countries and to advance North-South relations. 

The SA-Spain Annual Consultations serves as the main forum for bilateral exchanges between South Africa and Spain.  It was established in terms of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between South Africa and Spain in December 2000 and provides the legal framework for bilateral consultations and cooperation. 

An inaugural meeting and four sessions of the Annual Consultations have been held since 2003, alternately in Spain and South Africa.  The consultations, which are conducted at the level of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, comprise both political discussions and consultations on technical and development cooperation between representatives of the respective government departments. 

In this regard, engagements between Deputy Minister Van der Merwe and Spanish Secretary of State Lossada at this year’s Annual Consultations are expected to include the following:

  • An overview of SA-Spanish bilateral political relations;
  • Bilateral trade between South Africa and Spain;
  • South Africa’s national elections in 2009;
  • The African Agenda and current developments in Africa, including outcomes of the recently held SADC Heads of State Extraordinary Summit in Sandton;
  • The current global financial crisis and reform of the Bretton Woods institutions;
  • Reform of the United Nations especially the UN Security Council, and
  • South Africa’s relations with the European Union.

Currently several South African departments, which have cooperation programmes with Spain, are involved in annual consultations with their Spanish counterparts including Departments of Trade and Industry; environmental Affairs and Tourism; Home Affairs; Arts and Culture; Health; Provincial and Local Government; as well as  Social Development. 

Bilateral Economic Relations 

In 2007, South Africa’s exports to Spain totalled Euro 1,5b (an increase of 9% on the 2006 figure).  South Africa’s main exports were coal, fish, fresh fruits, iron and steel products, mechanical appliances and automotive parts and accessories.  Spain is South Africa’s 9th most important export market.

South Africa’s imports from Spain grew by 4% to Euro 800 m in 2007.  The most important products imported from Spain were vehicles, parts and accessories, machinery and mechanical appliances, electrical machinery and equipment, furniture and related products and plastics.

Bilateral trade (thousand euros)

Year SA Imports Annual Grwoth SA Exports Annual Grwoth Total Trade Annual Grwoth
2004 1 164 652 24% 479 758 30% 1 664 410 25.9%
2005 1 257 237 8% 641 320 34% 1 898 857 15.5%
2006 1 351 155 7% 742 982 16% 2 094 137 10.3%
2007 1 484 564 9% 807 804 4% 2 292 378 9%

Source: Spanish Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism

South Africa remains the largest recipient of Spanish outward investment in Africa.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853

Media Programme for the SA-Spanish Annual Consultations

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
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20 November 2008

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