South Africa and Slovakia commit to bolster economic cooperation
South Africa and Slovakia have committed to boosting trade and investment between the two countries.
This commitment was made during the 5th Session of the South Africa-Slovakia Joint Council on Economic Cooperation (JCEC), that was co-chaired by the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Fikile Majola and his Slovak counterpart, Mr Vojtech Ferencz in Pretoria.
The JCEC was established through the signing of an economic agreement between South Africa and Slovakia in 2005, following the latter’s secession from Czechoslovakia in 1993, and its ascension to the European Union.
Deputy Minister Majola told the meeting that the current global gloom compelled nations to improve relations and cooperatively work together to correct this undesirable situation in the interest of all people across the world.
“The meeting noted with concern the downward review of global growth forecast for 2020 by the International Monitory Fund in part as a result of ongoing trade war between China and US, rising energy prices, and the high possibility of a no deal Brexit. The sides agreed that these factors hold back global trade, including bilateral trade. The sides underscored the need to work together on a bilateral level to advance trade and investment relations in order to cushion their economies against the effect of the external factors,” said Majola.
Majola added that the meeting also noted the low level of bilateral trade and investment since the September 2012 Joint Council on Economic Cooperation (JCEC). South Africa`s exports destined to Slovak remains miniscule throughout the five-year period ending in 2018. Bilateral trade increased with an average annual growth rate of 23% between 2014 and 2018 and it stood at R3.1 billion in 2018.
“In this regard, the two sides agreed to strengthen measures to increase the level of bilateral trade, which is below potential. The South African side identified potential products of export to the Slovak side. These include, but are not limited, to an increases of agriculture and agro-processed products, automotive products, capital equipment and pharmaceutical products given that markets that already exist in these areas,” added Deputy Minister Majola.
The meeting also committed to increase exchange of information about opportunities pertaining to trade and investment that are offered in each other’s markets.
“The sides further expressed their willingness to exchange a list of specialised fairs and exhibitions for participation by respective private sectors. In this regard, the South African side invited the Slovak side to participate in the following Fairs: Africa Oil Week, Africa Health Exhibition, Africa Big 7 and Automechanika 2020. The Slovak side invited the South African side to participate in the following fairs: ITF Slovakiatour, Slovakia Boat Show, CONECO – RACIOENERGIA and IDEB,” stated Majola.
The Slovak side expressed an interest for Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO) to establish a stronger relationship with InvestSA through the exchange of information and mutual information on current business and investment opportunities, the organisation of joint events in Slovakia and South Africa. SARIO proposes to the South African partners to consider signing the memorandum of cooperation in this regard.