Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim to Co-Chair Second SA / Switzerland Annual Consultations in Pretoria, 07 December 2009.
Pretoria - International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim will, on 07 December 2009, co-chair the Second South Africa/Switzerland Annual consultations with the State Secretary of the Confederation of Switzerland, Mr Michael Ambühl in Pretoria.
The Second SA/Switzerland Annual Consultations take place within the context of North South Dialogue and is an endeavour to deepen bilateral relations between the two countries.
Accordingly the Second Session of the Annual Consultations seeks to make an overview of the current state of bilateral political relations in the following areas:
Science and Technology; Bilateral Development Cooperation; Draft Agreement on Trilateral Cooperation; Cultural Cooperation Proposal; Signing of Visa Agreement; Double Taxation Agreement; FIFA 2010 World Cup; and Apartheid Class Action Suit.
In addition the Second Session will afford the two countries to exchange views on:
- African Agenda and the conflicts on the African continent
- Multilateral issues including UN Security Council; Human Rights Council; Durban Review Conference; Climate Change; and Nuclear Disarmament
- Middle East Peace Process.
The Annual Consultations forum was borne out of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between South Africa and Switzerland on the 28 May 2008. During the 1st Annual High Level Consultations held in Bern on 27 May 2008, a strong partnership between South Africa and Switzerland was reaffirmed together with the shared commitment to the values of democracy, good governance, peace and security and development on the African continent, especially with regards to South Sudan and the DRC. Furthermore, the two countries reviewed bilateral relations and expressed satisfaction that relations between South Africa and Switzerland and their peoples continue to strengthen and grow in all areas.
Relations between South Africa and Switzerland remain very good and are based upon growing bilateral and economic ties. In recent years many bilateral contacts have taken place at a higher level, providing excellent opportunities to discuss relations between the two countries.
Relations have since 1998 been regulated by a Joint Working Group, established after a Declaration of Intent on Joint Activities signed during the State Visit of President Cotti to South Africa in August 1998. The Declaration of Intent provided for joint actions and projects to be undertaken in priority areas such as democratisation and good governance, promotion of conflict resolution and peace promotion, small arms and light-weapons non-proliferation and any other issues as agreed upon by the parties.
Bilateral Trade between SA / Switzerland.
During the 2008/2009 financial year, South Africa’s exports to Switzerland peaked at around R 15, 4 Billion, whereas Swiss imports to South Africa peaked at around R 6.19 Billion, with total trade peaking at around R21 -22 Billion. The trade balance is heavily in South Africa’s favour, with a surplus of R9, 2 Billion. Trade with Switzerland accounts for 1.53 % of all total South African exports.
There are 150 Swiss companies investing in SA (e.g. Holcim, Nestle, Credit Suisse and Schindler Lifts and also there are a few South African companies in Switzerland (e.g. SAA, De Beers, Sappi and Investec). Swiss products imported to SA: chemicals, vehicles, aircrafts and mechanical appliances. SA products exported to Switzerland: minerals, wood pulp, ammunition, precious and semi precious metals, prepared foodstuffs and beverages.
Venue: Bryntirion Estate
Presidential Guest House
(Use Gate 10)
Monday, 07 November 2009
09h00: Arrival of media
09h45: Arrival of the Swiss State Secretary, Mr Michael Ambühl
10h00: Opening of plenary by Co-Chairpersons:
10h00: Welcome and opening remarks by Deputy Minister Ebrahim
10h10: Response by State Secretary Ambühl
(Media in attendance)
13h30 Signing of Agreements
(Media in attendance)
13h35: Press Briefing
For the Media programme and rsvps contact Thembela Ngculu on 082 387 5611.
For more information contact Chief Director for Public Diplomacy on 082 9401647.
Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag X152
06 December 2009.