Western Cape Premier Helen Zille yesterday (11 November 2015) took part in the official opening of one of Asia’s largest food and wine shows, the Food Hotel China exhibition (FHC). Premier Zille was joined at the opening by government ministers from the United Kingdom and Denmark.
Thirty-eight of the province’s food and wine companies are amongst the over 3000 exhibitors participating at the FHC and Prowine trade shows, which are currently taking place at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre.
In 2014, FHC attracted over 34 000 visitors. ProWine attracted over 8 200 trade visitors last year. The participation of Western Cape companies was supported by the Provincial Department of Agriculture, in line with Project Khulisa’s focus on agri-processing.
Following the opening, Premier Zille and Economic Opportunities Minister, Alan Winde, who are in China for an official trade promotion and investment mission, supported the Western Cape exhibitors at their stands.
Companies included agri-processing businesses manufacturing tea, canned goods, fruit juices, sweets, natural remedies using aloe, olive oil, salad dressings, curry spices and sauces.
During her opening address, Premier Zille said that trade between South Africa and China had been increasing rapidly.
“Since 1998, South African exports to China have increased seven times over. This growth has benefitted both countries and there is room for so much more. It is important for all provinces to maximise the potential of their economies.”
Premier Zille pointed to several South African products which were popular in the Chinese market. Last year, Rooibos exports to China were worth 592 000 USD.
“The Western Cape is able to contribute wonderful agricultural products and I know our wines are already taking China by storm. China is the world’s international capital of tea and no tea collection is complete with South Africa’s Rooibos tea. We are also exhibiting olive oil here and all of our products are produced to the highest safety standards.”
Premier Zille added that the Western Cape was also a leading global tourism destination with its unique cultural landmarks and natural beauty.
“I invite you to visit the extraordinary Western Cape with its floral kingdom as well as Robben Island. The Western Cape is where the two oceans meet and where Table Mountain rises to protect us all.”
Premier Zille and Minister Winde are leading a Western Cape Government delegation which includes officials from the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and Wesgro.
The delegation’s programme for the day included meetings with existing and potential importers of South African products.
Speaking to importers this afternoon, Minister Winde provided an outline of the Western Cape’s export market.
“We have a comparative advantage in the agricultural sector and currently over 40% of South Africa’s agricultural exports come from the Western Cape.”
Minister Winde explained that the Western Cape had developed a focused strategy to grow the economy and create jobs, Project Khulisa. China is an important partner in the Project Khulisa strategy, which identified tourism, agri-processing and oil and gas as priority sectors.
“The Western Cape currently welcomes 1.5 million international visitors each year. We want to increase this to 2 million and I believe much of that growth will come from this part of the world. Between 2009 and 2012, the number of arrivals from China to the Western Cape increased by 154%. Following the introduction of the new visa laws, the number of Chinese tourists decreased by 45%. However, we are confident that the recent concessions made in respect of the visa laws will start reversing that downward trend. In particular, there will be additional visa facilitation centres, the option to allow accredited tour operators to lodge visa applications, biometrics on arrival and ten-year business visas for Chinese travellers.”
Premier Zille and Minister Winde were set to brief the Chinese media on trade between the Western Cape and South Africa yesterday evening, with a focus on the Project Khulisa growth sectors, namely tourism, agri-processing and oil and gas.
For media enquiries: Tammy Evans on email@example.com