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South Africa, China build on trade ties

By Zhao Yinan | China Daily Africa | Updated: 2015-07-19 14:52

 South Africa, China build on trade ties

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang meets with South African Vice-President Cyril Ramaphosa in Beijing on July 14. Wu Zhiyi / China Daily

Premier Li notes advantages to be gained from the nations' 'highly complementary' economies

China and South Africa pledged on July 13 to collaborate on the development of ports, oil, and gas resources, and fisheries.

The decision is part of an ongoing effort to promote South Africa's industrialization with the help of China's industrial capacity.

Premier Li Keqiang said China is willing to push forward cooperation with South Africa on industrial capacity, especially in the manufacturing of steel, construction materials and consumption goods, in which China is competitive in technology and prices.

Li made the comments as he met with South African Vice-President Cyril Ramaphosa in Beijing.

"The economies of China and South Africa are highly complementary, and the prospect of cooperation is broad," Li said. He added that the two countries are working together to promote industrialization and infrastructure construction, including nuclear power.

Ramaphosa said that his delegation, including high-ranking officials in charge of energy, international cooperation and trade, will focus on economic and trade issues, particularly on how state-owned enterprises can promote economic growth and address poverty and unemployment.

"South Africa places a high strategic importance on its relations with China and is willing to learn from China's experience in industrialization and the building of special economic zones," he said.

Ramaphosa's five-day visit to China, which began on July 13, will also take him to Qingdao, Shandong province, where he will visit a manufacturing center for high-speed locomotives and domestic appliances.

He then flies to the southern city of Shenzhen, Guangdong province, to visit a port and a telecommunications giant. Shenzhen was one of China's first special economic zones.

Experts said the South African economy has fluctuated in recent years due to domestic labor disputes and the lack of demand in the global market.

The country's economy expanded by only 1.5 percent last year, the slowest since the global financial crisis, and far below the targeted growth of 2.7 percent.

China was South Africa's largest trading partner for the sixth consecutive year in 2014 with $60.3 billion in bilateral trade.

Chen Fengying, director of the World Economy Institute at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said South Africa's economic growth is far below that needed to create enough job opportunities there.

"The BRICS New Development Bank, aimed at financing projects mainly in the BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, will become a major lender to finance domestic infrastructure construction projects in South Africa," she said.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the founding of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. This year's meeting of the forum will be in South Africa, and it will be co-chaired by both nations.

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