The South African Consulate General to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mr Mogobo Magabe says the challenge of COVID-19 has created an unprecedented opportunity to devise innovative responses to new challenges and trading. Mogobo was speaking during a virtual trade and investment webinar attended by both South Africa and UAE businesspeople today.

The objective of the webinar was to deepen the relationship that South Africa has with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to greater heights and also to expose South African exporters to the UAE market opportunities relating to food and beverages.

“This year has been a tumultuous year for all humanity. We are all grappling with the challenge of COVID-19 and with continuing to sustain international cooperation in a context of reduced opportunity for direct physical contact. While they are many challenges, the trade between South Africa and the UAE have proved its resilience during the hard times of lockdown and travel restrictions,” said Mogobo.

Magoba said the UAE remains a strategic trading hub for South Africa in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and statistics indicate that the volume of trade between the UAE and South Africa amounted to USD3.8 billion in 2020. He said the figure could have been higher if it was not for the outbreak of Covid 19.

“The UAE is also an important hub for exports and re-exports of meat such as beef, mutton, goat and poultry including rabbit. There are 13 UAE approved abattoirs in South Africa, this is a small number as compare to other countries. That is why today we have invited both Dubai Customs and Dubai Municipality present to us about requirements to export to UAE which includes processes to obtain halal certificate and other important procedures,” he said.

Speaking at the same webinar the Marketing Manager for South Africa Fresh Produce Export Forum, Ms Marletta Kellerman said 10 million kilogram of fresh fruit was exported to the UAE in 2020.

“The fruits exported included exotic fruits, citrus, table grapes, pineapples, stone fruit, avocado, pome fruit, litchis and mangoes. The citrus fruit amounted to 62% of the exports  while the exotic fruit was at 1% in the same period. The export numbers are an indication that our fruits in the Middle East region are still the largest agricultural exports in Africa,” said Kellerman.

The Executive Director for Policies and Legislation at the Dubai Customs, Mr Mansoor AlMalik said citrus, fresh and dried fruit are among the top five traded commodities in the UAE.

“The overall value of food commodities in general and foodstuff trade between UAE and South Africa imported to Dubai from South Africa in 2020 amounted to R5.2 billion. The trade is an indication that increasing investment in the food sector could be further explored to boost trade South Africa which enjoys rich natural and food resources,” added AlMalik.

AlMalik further said GCC unified procedures are applied on shipment between Dubai and South Africa. He added that Importers and their representatives can arrange for customer clearance which is available 24/7 through electronic and smart application platforms.

The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) trade and investment presentation indicated that edible fruits and nuts are in the top 5 South African exports to the UAE. The Department also highlighted four prioritised high impact interventions to support a rapid economic rebound in South Africa. The intervention include the massive rollout of infrastructure, rapid expansion of the energy generation capacity, a drive for industrial growth and employment stimulus to create jobs and support livelihood.

Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)
Follow us on Twitter: @the_dti

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