Deputy Minister Sue Van Der Merwe to Co-Chair the Sixth Annual South Africa-Spain Consultations

Pretoria- International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Sue Van der Merwe will co-chair the Sixth Annual South Africa-Spain Consultations with her Spanish counterpart, Mr Angel Lossada, Spanish Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, on 2 November 2009 in Madrid. Deputy Minister Van der Merwe will be accompanied by senior officials from the Department of International Relations and Co-operation as well as representatives from various other departments that have close co-operation with the Kingdom of Spain.

The visit takes place within the context of promoting North- South cooperation. The South Africa-Spain Annual Consultations serve as the main forum for bilateral exchanges between South Africa and Spain. It was established in terms of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries in December 2000, which provides the legal framework for bilateral consultations and cooperation.

An inaugural meeting and five 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.  This year’s consultations gain added significance in view of Spain’s term as Presidency of the EU as from January 2010.

Currently several South African departments, which have cooperation programmes with Spain, are involved in these annual consultations with their Spanish counterparts: The Departments of Trade and Industry; Environmental Affairs; Tourism; Home Affairs and Arts and Culture; as well as National Treasury, which also serves to represent the Departments of Health; Governance and Traditional Affairs and Social Development.

During her visit to Spain Deputy Minister Van der Merwe will also pay a courtesy call on the Spanish Foreign Minister, Mr Miguel Ángel Moratinos Cuyaubé, and have meetings with her counterparts in the Ministries of Commerce, of the Interior and of Sport to discuss strengthened co-operation in these fields.  She will also have a working breakfast with members of the Association of Chambers of Commerce and business leaders.

Economic relations

In 2008, South Africa’s exports to Spain totalled Euro 1,6b (an increase of 8% on the 2007 figure).  The Republic’s main exports were coal (Euro 537m), fish (Euro 103m), fresh fruits (Euro 51m), iron and steel products (Euro 183m), ores and slag (Euro 167m).  Spain is South Africa’s 9th most important export market.

Spanish exports to South Africa decreased in 2008.  The most important products exported to South Africa were vehicles, parts and accessories (Euro 197m), nuclear reactors and related equipment (Euro 68m), electrical machinery and equipment (Euro 45m), pharmaceutical products (Euro 35m) and plastics and articles thereof (Euro 27m).

Bilateral trade (thousand Euros)

Year SA Imports Annual Growth SA Exports Annual Growth Total Trade Annual Growth
2004 1164 652 24% 479 758 30% 1 644 410 25,9%
2005 1257 237 8% 641 620 34% 1 898 857 15,5%
2006 1 351155 7% 742 982 16% 2 094 137 10,3%
2007 1 484 564 9% 807 804 4% 2 292 378 9%
2008 1 606 143 8% 648 322 -20% 2 254 465 -1,7%

For more information contact Nomfanelo Kota on 082 459 3787

Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag X152

30 October 2009

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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa