SA, Belarus to do more to increase trade

South Africa and Belarus need to do more to increase trade with one another, says Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe.

Speaking at the conclusion of the fourth session of the South Africa-Belarus Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) in Tshwane, the Deputy Minister said both countries need to work on ways to increase trade with one another.

We are collectively obliged to recommend solutions to the low levels of trade between South Africa and Belarus, as well as Africa in its entirety. We should create platforms for diversified exports, where a greater portion of beneficiated products are concerned, said the Deputy Minister on Thursday.

The ITEC was established through the bilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement that was signed between South Africa and Belarus in 2000.

The primary objective of ITEC is to strengthen and develop trade and economic cooperation between South Africa and the European country.

Government officials from both countries spent the major part of Thursday exchanging ideas on various aspects related to efforts aimed at increasing mutually-beneficial and two-way bilateral trade and investment between the countries.

These included possible cooperation on a variety of sectors such as automotive, manufacturing, rail and rail stock, mining equipment, agriculture and higher education and training.

This, said the Deputy Minister, is an affirmation that both countries aim to comprehensively expand bilateral trade and economic relations.

In 2016, total trade between the two countries amounted to R63 million.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister of International Relations in Belarus, Andriel Dapakiunas, said ITEC provides a platform for South Africa and Belarus to engage on ways and means of increasing trade and investment between the two countries.

Our economies have complementary structures. There is a possibility for partnerships that can contribute in the development of industrial and agricultural sectors to facilitate the creation of new jobs in both countries, said Deputy Minister Dapakiunas.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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