SA, Czech Republic strengthen ties
27 September 2012
South Africa and the Czech Republic have re-committed themselves to enhancing trade and economic relations despite the current financial economic crisis negatively affecting many countries around the world.
The two countries - represented by Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Elizabeth Thabethe and her counterpart, Pavel Šolcl - signed a declaration to strengthen cooperation between South Africa and the Czech Republic.
The two countries made the commitment at the end of the second session of the Czech Republic-South Africa Joint Committee for Economic Cooperation in Prague on Tuesday.
"We shared the view that at the time, when the current financial and economic crisis negatively affects many countries, concerted international efforts are needed to create a more conducive environment for economic and business cooperation," Thabethe said.
"The two sides shared the view that solutions should also be sought in the promotion of multilateral and inter-regional trade."
Commitment to promoting cooperation
Both countries reiterated the role of the Joint Committee and committed to promoting cooperation between business enterprises and overseeing development of bilateral economic cooperation in various fields.
The importance of the strategic partnership between the European Union (EU) and South Africa was also addressed.
The meeting noted that opportunities and investment between the EU and southern African region - including a comprehensive and balanced Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) - were supported.
"Following the Joint Communique, adopted at the occasion of the fifth EU-South Africa Summit held in Brussels on 18 September 2012, we hope that pending issues in the negotiations can be resolved and the EPA could be finalised as soon as possible," she said.
Both countries agreed to exert efforts to enhance the performance of bilateral trade on a mutually beneficial basis and to encourage the private sectors of South Africa and the Czech Republic to participate in efforts to boost trade.
"In an effort to diversify bilateral trade, we have proposed to the Czech side to further develop bilateral trade in other potential products, such as machinery, filtering or purifying machinery, boilers, electrical equipment, textiles, automotive and automotive components, furniture, plates, sheet, strip and foil, nickel alloy, wines and fruit juices and processed food," Thabethe said.
"The Czech side informed us that South Africa was included in a targeted group covering so-called 'countries of interest' in the 2012-2020 Export Strategy of the Czech Republic, approved by the Czech Government."
"This new export strategy was the main instrument for diversifying and increasing Czech foreign trade and promoting mutual trade, investment and other economic activities with countries included," she said.