The Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Mr Ebrahim Patel and a high-level delegation completed a four-day working visit to Shanghai, Nanjing and Beijing to meet with government officials, investors and a number of Chinese electric vehicles and battery manufacturers.

Minister Patel was hosted by his counterpart, Mr Wang Wentao, the Chinese Minister of Commerce, in a bilateral meeting and working dinner during the visit. The discussion reviewed trade relations, considered steps taken to implement agreements signed during President Xi Jinping’s state visit in August 2023, identified new opportunities to strengthen economic ties and discussed a possible Memorandum of Understanding on the automotive industry.

During his visit, Minister Patel held bilateral meetings with 8 Chinese companies, met six SA companies operating in China, and undertook two factory site visits.

The SA delegation met with six potential Chinese investors in the electric vehicle value chain: four are vehicle manufacturers, namely the Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corporation (SAIC), BYD Auto Manufacturers (the world’s largest electric vehicle producer), Foton Group and Beijing Automotive Industrial Group (BAIC).

Meetings were held with two battery producers: CATL – the world’s largest battery producer and Gotion Hi-Tech International, who have a partnership with Volkswagen.

“The investors we met were very interested in the market particularly with commencement of trade by South Africa under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (the AfCFTA). I found them knowledgeable about local market conditions and keen to explore investment partnerships. This builds on positive sentiment we found in September last year in New York among American investors too,” Minister Patel said today.

China is the world’s leading producer of electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries. The visit provided Minister Patel with an opportunity to present the South African automotive value proposition and government policy support to companies looking to invest into the South African automotive industry, particularly in EV manufacturing. The SA automotive industry is supported by stable long-term policies such as the South African Automotive Master Plan  (SAAM) 2035 and a government support package for capital investment, and vehicle and component production.

The South African government released the Electric Vehicle White Paper in December last year. The paper outlines the country’s approach to supporting the transition to zero-emission vehicle production for the export and domestic market.

As part of the support for the transition, the government has improved the automotive industry incentive package for electric vehicle production in South Africa. This includes increased investment support through a recently-announced tax measure.

The support from government ensures South Africa can compete in attracting vital investment into the industry that will facilitate the transition of this well-established sector to new energy vehicles. Access to export markets makes South Africa a more attractive investment destination.

Minister Patel also met investors in the steel and energy sectors and discussed their plans for the SA market.

The Minister was accompanied by senior staff of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the dtic.

China is currently South Africa’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade estimated at $34 billion (R556 billion) in 2022.

Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
Tel: (012) 394 1643
Mobile: 079 5083 457
WhatsApp: 074 2998 512
Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)

Share this:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email