M a r k e t N e w s

SA and Indonesia boost trade relations

Posted on : Monday, 27th April 2015

South Africa and Indonesia have amplified efforts to increase bilateral trade as well as working together to promote technical cooperation in the fields of agriculture, energy and maritime resources.

The two governments have signed a bilateral cooperation agreement which will pave the way for the elimination of trade barriers. The agreement was signed at the Indonesian capital Jakarta ahead of the start of the Africa-Asia summit. 

Two way trade between South Africa and Indonesia is valued at just above $2-billion and has consistently grown over the past five years. South Africa’s major exports to Jarkata include chemical wood pulp, ferrous waste, iron ore, aluminium, apples and pears, and mechanical appliances.

The two countries have engaged in high level talks to eliminate trade tariffs seen as a major impediment to accelerate trade between the two regional economic powerhouses. 

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has described the signing of a bilateral cooperation agreement as a major step toward enhancing trade and investment.

"Bilaterally we've just signed a joint economic agreement.  We need to advance economic and trade relations.  Both Africa and Asia boast a young and educated population.  Our people are our best resource and we need to make use of this opportunity," says Nkoana-Mashabane.

Indonesia which is marking the 60th anniversary of the historic Bandung conference that is praised for helping fight colonialism and apartheid on the continent, has called for greater cooperation under the New Asia-Africa Strategic Partnerships framework.

Under this cooperation, Indonesia will work together with South Africa in order to assist other countries in the African region to boost trade and investment. 

Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister, Retno Marsudi, says South Africa is one of Indonesia’s most important partners within Africa. "In the context of Asia-Africa, South Africa and Indonesia made the new Africa-Asia strategic partnership to be part of the implementation mechanism for the cooperation of Asia and Africa," says the minister.

Marsudi also says Indonesia will use its influential status in south-east Asia to foster greater trade cooperation between Asia and Africa. "As the incoming chair of the Indian Ocean Regional Association, Indonesia will promote cooperation in maritime connectivity, so as to shorten the distance between Asia and Africa."

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has arrived in Jakarta and is scheduled to address the Asian-Africa leaders' summit which is hosted by Indonesia President Joko Widodo.

Minister in the Office of the Presidency Jeff Radebe says South Africa's participation at the summit is significant because it is important in addressing the country’s socio-economic conditions.

"All the Asian countries and Africa will be here in a summit to fortify economic relations between the two continents.  The success will be for further development of economic relations in our countries including South Africa so that we can deal with underlying socio-economic conditions that give rise to some South Africans attacking foreign nationals," he says.

President Jacob Zuma made a last minute decision to cancel his trip to Indonesia to attend to xenophobic violence plaguing South Africa.

Source : www.sabc.co.za
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