Western Cape-China trade relations have been strengthened ahead of a key summit focused on increasing cooperation between Africa and Asia’s biggest economy.
Premier Helen Zille and Economic Opportunities Minister, Alan Winde, returned yesterday from a successful trade mission to China.
The delegation, which included officials from the Western Cape Government and Wesgro, the province’s trade and investment promotion body, held productive engagements with the private sector, Chinese media and government.
High on the agenda were discussions around South Africa’s new visa regulations. Premier Zille and Minister Winde shared the latest changes to the visa laws, which make it easier for Chinese tourists to visit South Africa.
Minister Winde said: “We also encouraged Chinese travellers to visit our region. Our destination has several draw-cards for our Chinese counterparts. Cape Point, where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet is a popular attraction amongst Chinese travellers, having also been the location of a widely known Chinese music video.
“We had a successful meeting with executives from Air China, who expressed interested in exploring a direct flight between Cape Town and Shanghai.”
The Western Cape’s Project Khulisa growth strategy drove the agenda for the official visit.
Project Khulisa has the goal of driving growth and job creation through increased exports in key products. By 2025, the goal is to double wine exports to China.
China is the world’s second largest importer and between 2001 and 2014, South African exports to China increased from 885 million USD to 6.9 billion USD.
China imported 11 million litres of South African wine last year, making SA one of the top ten wine exporters to China.
The Western Cape Government also supported 38 local companies to exhibit at two of China’s largest trade shows, Food Hotel China and Prowine.
“Our companies have received a favourable response at the exhibition and will be following up on several leads. There is potential for China to be a big partner in helping us meet our Project Khulisa goals.”
This success comes just weeks before South Africa is to host the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Johannesburg Summit.
It is the first time South Africa is hosting the summit since it was convened in 2000.
African heads of state and representatives from the African Union will attend the summit.
President Xi Jinping is set to visit South Africa ahead of the FOCAC Summit.
“We are confident that our visit inspired an interest in our region, and that many of the companies attending the Johannesburg Summit will consider adding the Western Cape to their itinerary,” said Winde.
For media queries, kindly contact:
Spokesperson: Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities
Western Cape Government