The Vietnam – South African joint trade sub-committee convened the fourth session in Hanoi on October 16 to seek ways to bolster bilateral economic and trade partnerships.
|Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung (front, left) and South African Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Fikile Majola (front, right) at the session in Hanoi on October 16 (Photo: moit.gov.vn)
Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung said the two countries share many similarities in agricultural production, but they still have their own strengths that are complementary to each other.
He suggested both sides increase cooperation in the trading of agricultural products, calling on South Africa to soon open its market for Vietnam’s farm produce such as processed chicken, honey, dairy products, dragon fruit, lychee, longan, rambutan and star apple.
Hung also asked South Africa to facilitate the distribution of Vietnamese agricultural and aquatic products through its multinational supermarket chains like Makro, Metro and Woolworth, and its domestic supermarket systems like Spar, Checkers and Supespa.
Additionally, the official asked the two countries to enhance ties in supporting industries, energy and small- and medium-sized enterprise development, as well as within multilateral trade frameworks.
Speaking highly of Vietnam’s economic and trade development potential, South African Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Fikile Majola affirmed that his country considers Vietnam an important partner in Southeast Asia.
He asked the two sides to continue working closely together in carrying out measures to strengthen their friendship and economic, trade and investment relations.
He also expressed his hope that Vietnam will open its market to some agricultural products of South Africa, which is also ready to supply coal for thermal power plants in Vietnam.
At the session, participants discussed measures to remove bottlenecks and create more optimal conditions for trade, investment and business partnerships. They looked into solutions to boost the two economies’ connectivity, expand markets for each other’s goods, and capitalise on their strengths and resources to help with each country’s development.
To promote trade, the officials agreed to increase the exchange of information and business delegations.
Vietnam asked South Africa to assist it in organising a Vietnamese goods week in Johannesburg in the near future. It also announced that a delegation of Vietnamese enterprises will attend the SAITEX and Africa’s Big 7 trade show in South Africa in June 2020.
Regarding industrial cooperation, the Vietnamese side hoped to reinforce ties in tanning, automobile component and spare part manufacturing, and participate in international industrial expos in South Africa such as Source Africa, Automechanika Expo and Futuroad Expo.
The Southeast Asian nation asked South Africa to boost cooperation in wind turbine equipment manufacturing. It also expressed the intention to supply some medical equipment for South Africa, the biggest importer of medical equipment in Africa.
According to the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade, South Africa is currently the biggest trade partner of Vietnam in Africa. Bilateral trade grew from over 700 million USD in 2012 to more than 1 billion USD in 2018. The figure reached 951 million USD in the first nine months of 2019, with Vietnam recording trade surplus.