Speech by Deputy Minster Aziz Pahad at Turkish / South African Businessmen Function: Diplomatic Guesthouse: 17 November 2000

Your Excellency Ambassador Atacanli

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you at this occasion in honour of Turkish and South African business people. I would especially like to express a warm word of welcome to those Turkish friends who travelled from Cape town and Durban to be here with us.

Although all of us gathered here represent different institutions, organisations and companies, we have one objective in common, which is the consolidation of SA – Turkish relations and promotion of bilateral economic relations between South Africa and Turkey. This will be to mutual benefit of both our countries. Governments can create a favourable climate, the private sector must exploit the possibility.

Amongst our guests are members of the embassy of the Republic of Turkey in South Africa, the Office of the Presidency; and the Department of Trade and Industry. The Turkish/South African business Council. The Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), which has recently been affiliated to the Turkish / South African Business Council.

Globalisation

African renewal

Conflicts : Middle East

Africa

Balkans Kurdish issue – democratisation in Turkey

Since my visit to Turkey in June 2000, which focussed on the strengthening of our political relations and the promotion of bilateral economic, good progress has been made to further strengthen our relations. Apart from signing a Reciprocal Protection of Investment Agreement it was possible to finalise the Trade and Economic Agreement, which is now ready for signature. It is anticipated that this Agreement will be signed early in 2001 during the envisaged visit of the Turkish Minister of State, Mr Unlu who will be the Co-chairman of the South African / Turkish Economic Commission that will be established through the conclusion of this Agreement.

Since the establishment of formal relations between Turkey and South Africa in 1991 bilateral economic relations have grown considerably. Turkey is South Africa’s largest trade and investment partner from the Central and Eastern European and Central Asian States region, which comprises 25 countries, including the Russian Federation. According to trade figures, bilateral trade between South Africa and Turkey for 1999 stood at R3,618 billion, 7 to 1 in favour of South Africa. During the first quarter of 2000 South African exports to Turkey increased by 43,8% and imports from Turkey by 29,7% compared to the same period for 1999. Turkish direct investment in South Africa amounts to approximately R350 million.

We have achieved much, but we can achieve more - "Wall of ignorance".

An official visit by Deputy President Zuma aimed at further enhancing bilateral relations is also on the cards for the middle of 2001. One of the important aspects of discussion will be the promotion of the objectives of the African Renaissance.

Friends, I share and support the vision expressed by Mr Tuzmen, the Turkish Under-Secretary for Foreign Trade, who predicted during his visit to South Africa at the beginning of October 2000 that bilateral trade between South Africa and Turkey would triple over the next five years. However, without your invaluable support and contribution this will not be possible. In this spirit I would also like to invite you to raise any issues of concern that could jeopardise our economic relations and I welcome any suggestions aimed at further enhancing these relations.

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