Deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers undertakes a three-nation working visit to Europe

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Luwellyn Landers, will undertake a working visit to the Czech Republic, the Republic of Hungary and the Republic of Poland, respectively, from 14-17 November 2016 for bilateral political consultations.

The visit is mainly aimed at strengthening bilateral political and economic relations as South Africa views the region as a potential partner in addressing the country's national priorities and co-operation inter alia in the fields of science and technology, education, agriculture and trade.

This year marks a very important milestone in our relations as we celebrate 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Africa and the three countries.

The respective bilateral consultations will provide an opportunity to assess and review the status of our bilateral relations and also agree on new areas of potential co-operation.

Relations between South Africa and Czech Republic are governed by the South Africa- Czech Republic ' Joint Committee for Economic Cooperation', which was signed in Pretoria on 12 December 2016, to promote and deepen bilateral trade and economic co-operation between the two countries. Bilateral trade between the two countries currently stands at R9.6 billion, ranking the Czech Republic as a significant trading partner for South Africa. Bilateral mechanisms governing formal relations between South Africa and the Czech Republic include a "Declaration of Intent on Political Dialogue" signed in July 2000.

Bilateral relations between South Africa and Hungary are currently governed through Annual Political Consultations and Joint Economic Committee (JEC) signed in 1993.

A "Protocol on Consultations" signed with Poland in September 1995 oversees bilateral political relations while an "Agreement on Economic Co-operation" was signed with Poland in October 2013 to promote bilateral trade and investment. Annual Political Consultations with Hungary are governed by the "Joint Statement on Bilateral Relations" signed in 1993.

Bilateral trade between South Africa and all three Central European countries has grown considerably since formal diplomatic relations were established. South Africa's combined total exports in 2015 to the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland amounted to R4.2 billion while South African imports from the three countries combined amounted to R19.2 billion, a deficit of R15 billion.

Source: Government of South Africa