Remarks by Minister Nkoana-Mashabane on the occasion of the media briefing following the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, 11 April 2017, OR Tambo Building, Pretoria
Honourable Minister Koenders and your delegation,
Let me take this opportunity to once again welcome you to South Africa.
South Africa and the Netherlands share strong historical and cordial relations that date back to the 1600s.
Our deliberations this morning were very fruitful. We discussed a wide range of issues covering various fields, including the economy, trade, science and technology, education, judicial, multilateral and culture.
When President Zuma and Prime Minister Rutte met on the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2015, our two countries agreed on the need to elevate relations between South Africa and the Netherlands to a higher level.
Subsequent to that meeting, Prime Minister Rutte undertook an Official Visit to South Africa in November 2015 and was hosted by President Zuma for official discussions. During those discussions, various commitments were made. The most significant of these were the signing of Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding in the areas of Cooperative Societies, Science and Technology, Agriculture and Migration.
During our meeting this morning, we expressed South Africa’s satisfaction that good progress has been made in a number of areas of cooperation. For example:
- The Joint Working Committee on Science and Technology which met as recently as March 2017 and agreed on priorities for the future such as human capital development, wildlife crime, bio-economy and marine research.
- A number of priority areas of cooperation in agriculture were identified when the agriculture committee met in April 2016. These priority areas include animal and plant health, agro-logistics, electronic and fisheries cooperation.
We noted in our meeting this morning that trade between South Africa and the Netherlands has been on the increase.
According to trade rankings recorded in January 2017, the Netherlands was ranked South Africa’s 8th largest export partner in the world and 2nd largest export partner in the EU region.
South African businesses are also active in the Netherlands, participating in various industries, including services, coal, oil and natural gas, communication, consumer products, industrial machinery, paper, printing and packaging, plastics, software and IT services.
Before concluding, I would like to add that our meeting today also provided an opportunity to reflect on a number of regional and international matters of common interest.
We congratulated Kingdom of the Netherlands on her election to the United Nations Security Council as non-permanent member for the year 2018.
South Africa is confident that the Netherlands will be able to contribute to the mandate of the Council pertaining to the maintenance of international peace and security.
Honourable Minister Koenders, I now invite you to deliver your remarks.
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
OR Tambo Building
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