Media Statement

21 November 2015

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane concludes Working Visit to Italy

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane concludes Working Visit to Italy International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane concluded her Working Visit to Italy on Friday, 20 November 2015. The Minister held bilateral talks with her counterpart, Mr Paolo Gentiloni, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, with a view to renewing political and economic relations between the two countries.

The two Ministers exchanged views on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual concern, which included discussions on further enhancing trade and investment, and exploring further areas of Cooperation such as the development of SMMEs, infrastructure and the ocean economy, among others. The migration crisis, peace and security issues, as well as the scourge of terrorism were discussed.  Minister Nkoana-Mashabane extended an invitation to Minister Gentiloni to visit South Africa during the course of 2016 bilateral relations between Italy and South Africa are sound.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed in 2003 to establish a framework for regular bilateral consultations at Ministerial or Deputy Ministerial level. Areas of cooperation under this framework include science and technology, police, defence, tourism, arts and culture and agriculture, amongst others.  Bilateral trade between the two countries increased remarkably in 2014 by reaching a 6-year high after increasing by almost R7 billion (from R33 billion in 2013 to R40 billion in 2014). This includes an increase of SA exports by almost R2 billion.

Trade figures are expected to increase following an announcement this year that South Africa was amongst three countries identified by the Italian Government as potential strategic suppliers for 2015 for products such as raw materials, semi-finished and intermediate products in metallurgical, steel, alloys and foundries.

South Africa's exports are dominated by mineral products, hides and skins and iron ores and there is scope for increased exports of agricultural products, platinum, titanium and ferro alloys. Imports from Italy consist mainly of machinery, vehicles, electrical and electronic equipment as well as pharmaceutical products.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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