Posted: April 6, 2022
The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Mr Fikile Majola says South Africa is hoping for strengthened and deepened bilateral trade cooperation with Spain. This follows a meeting with his counterpart, Spain’s Secretary of State for Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Her Excellency, Ms Xiana Mendez. The two met at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) offices in Sunnyside, Pretoria.
The meeting was at the request of Spain, with the aim of discussing bilateral and Investment cooperation. The key focus areas on the agenda were localisation and industrialisation strategies in the steel, renewable energy and automotive sectors among other issues.
In 2020, Spain was South Africa’s fourth largest export destination in the European Union (EU), after Germany, Netherlands and Belgium, and fourth largest source of imports from the EU (after Germany, Italy and France). Spain is South Africa‘s 20th largest export destination and 12th largest source of imports, globally. Bilateral trade between the two countries reached the highest peak in 2018, at R51.7 billion, before falling to R38.8 billion in 2019.
Deputy Minister Majola described Spain as a very important and strategic ally, at this present time when South Africa is working on its Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan following the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At the moment as a country, we are investing a lot of of our efforts in green energy. As the dtic, we have been tasked to drive the development of the hydrogen economy policy for South Africa, and we would like to entice Spanish companies to collaborate with us and explore investment opportunities, so that we can together grow the sector which has become a critical global agenda item,” he said.
Other critical areas where South Africa seeks to strenthen investment and cooperation are the automotive, steel and poultry sectors, as the country continues to implement the masterplans to economic growth efforts.
Majola also raised concerns that the rates of imports and exports between the two countries were out of sync.
South Africa ran a trade deficit with Spain, which has widened over the years, with the exception of 2018. About 50% of South Africa’s exports to Spain are value added manufactured products. Automotive exports account for 40 % of top 10 exports. South Africa’s imports from Spain are predominantly value added products, including motor cars and chemical products. agricultural imports account for less that 5% to total imports.
In the meeting, the two leaders agreed discusing these issues to find ways of addressing them effectively.
Mendez said her country was keen of taking up the investment opportunities in the hydrogen economy. she says the green agenda is on the list of top priorities in her country and plans are in place already for the country to make a significant contribution the the development of key technologies, to become a significant player in the European Union.
“We share South Africa’s commitment to the development of the green economy and recognise the country’s efforts in dealing with its current ecomomic and developmental challenges. We also recognise South Africa’s role as one of the key leading economies in the African continent and therefore wish to improve our presence in this economy. Our companies are familiar with key legislation governing investments, including localisation and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBB-EE) policy and are responsive to these,” she said.
Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
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Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)
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