International Relation and Cooperation Minister co-chairs the joint South Africa-Russia inter-governmental committee on trade and economic cooperation in Moscow, 2-3 August 2010

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, H.E. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, co-chaired the 9th Joint South African-Russian Inter-Governmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation at the Russian capital, Moscow, which started yesterday and was concluded this afternoon, 3 August 2010. Co-chairing with her was the Federation’s Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology, H.E. Yuri Trutnev. Also in attendance as part of the South African delegation were the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davis; Minister of Transport, S’bu Ndebele; and senior government officials and business delegation. The session was concluded when the co-chairs signed a Protocol Agreement arising from the

Both co-chairs were satisfied that the session was conducted in an atmosphere of friendliness and mutual understanding. The ministers reaffirmed their determination to intensify and deepen mutually beneficial bilateral social, economic and technical cooperation and noted the important role that ITEC can play in achieving these objectives and supporting national programmes of Russia and South Africa.

In this regard, the Ministers noted with satisfaction that the annual ITEC sessions serve as a strong platform for enhancing trade and investment cooperation between Russia and South Africa.

The Ministers committed, under the auspices of ITEC, to exploit new trade and investment opportunities and to resolve obstacles to bilateral economic cooperation. This could enhance development, competitiveness, skills upgrading and generate jobs, and contribute towards improving the livelihoods of the peoples of Russia and South Africa.

The sides expressed satisfaction with the fact that the bilateral trade volume in 2009 continued to grow, notwithstanding the global economic crisis. However, for the first time in many years there has been a drop in the volume of goods imported from South Africa. This happened primarily due to the decreased consumption in the Russian market of traditional agricultural produce from South Africa as well as to challenges related to the products’ storage and sale in the territory of the Russian Federation.
 
At the same time the sides acknowledged that the bilateral trade volume falls short of the existing potential and agreed to take steps to increase trade and to shift the structure to high value added products, as well as to enhance cooperation in high-technology areas. Both sides also agreed to explore options to enhance efficiency in the logistical supply chain between the two countries.

The sides unanimously agreed as follows:

  • To improve the mutual exchange of information on export possibilities and import demands of both countries, as well as on legislation and  regulation that impact on foreign trade;
  • To intensify participation of South African and Russian organisations and companies in specialized international exhibitions and fairs held in both countries;
  • To strengthen banking cooperation, including cooperation between development banks, in implementing investment projects;
  • To welcome and encourage the participation of their organizations and companies in international tenders in their respective countries;
  • To facilitate the increase of trade and address trade concerns, the co-chairs committed to maintaining direct contact and taking the necessary steps to improve the effectiveness of commercial operations in each other’s markets;
  • Acknowledging the importance of trade in agricultural products, both sides agreed to maintain regular links between the respective authorities in order to facilitate trade and market access in this area.

 

These covered various sectors such as Mineral Resources, Energy, Transport, Agriculture and Forestry, Water Resources, Science, Technology and Education, Justice and Health.

The sides noted with satisfaction the intensified business cooperation between Russia and South Africa.

The sides agreed to render assistance to events organized by the Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Business Council aimed at developing trade, economic and investment cooperation. The sides further agreed to facilitate taking the necessary measures to ease operations of entrepreneurs in the markets of both countries.

It has been agreed that the Tenth ITEC Session will be held in South Africa in 2011. The dates will be communicated through diplomatic channels.

During the state visit on 5 and 6 August 2010, the two countries will sign the following agreements:

  • MoU between the South African Space Agency and the Russian Federal Space Agency on Cooperation in the Field of Earth Observation
  • Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Plant Quarantine
  • and  an  Agreement regarding the Waiver of Visa Requirements for Holders of Diplomatic or Service/Official Passports

 
For further information please contact Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Saul Kgomotso Molobi, on +27 82 940 1647, +27 341 0083 or email him at molobis@dirco.gov.za. Alternatively, contact Director for Media Liaison at the Department of Trade and Industry, Mr Sidwell Medupe, at +27 79 492 1774 or email him at msmedupe@thedti.gov.za

Issued by Department of International Relations and Cooperation
460 Soutpansberg Road
Rietondale
Pretoria
0001

4 August 2010

 

 

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