The Brics summit is stealing the headlines this week and a number of very important bilateral trade deals between South Africa and China have been signed by representatives of President Jacob Zuma and his newly elected Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping.
The New Age reported in detail about the various deals as well as the pledged “Year of South Africa in China” for 2013 and “Year of China in South Africa” in 2015.
“Our two countries have signed the terms of reference of the joint inter-ministerial working group on South Africa-China cooperation. We can therefore look forward to many activities that will bring our countries and peoples even closer,” Zuma said.
Agreements included a memorandum of understanding that could see a significant improvement in the delivery of services to pupils and a declaration of intent to boost trade between the two countries focusing on cooperation between customs agencies for import and export purposes. With China being SA’s largest trading partner (R201bn in 2012), this is quite important.
“We appreciate the hard work that you have put to ensure that the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) summit is a success,” Jinping said. And consensus is that the Durban occasion has reaffirmed South Africa’s ability to host important events. Whether, as per my previous blog, we will be hosting the Brics bank is another question altogether.
Fin24.com quoted Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, saying: “It’s done,” after talks with his counterparts with regards to the Brics bank on Tuesday. “We made very good progress, the leaders will announce the details.”
The development bank to be formed by Brics would be expected to take on more risk than western institutions such as the World Bank, which should make members more self-reliant. According to Business Day Live Brics leaders are expected to provide more information on the bank to define its mandate, structure, governance and headquarters, although officials earlier proposed injecting $50bn in seed capital into the bank.
There is still a lot to be decided on before the Brics bank can become a reality and it is not likely to be up and running for years. “The World Bank said on Tuesday it was ready to support the new development bank. But “establishing a development bank is a significant undertaking”, it warned.”
Our Chinese business partners have also travelled to South Africa to join the summit in Durban but not without first visiting us in the Winelands.
Since we have developed a specific wine label for China, we have become the biggest exporter of South African wine to China with our three brands, La Motte, Leopard’s Leap and the exclusive label, L’Huguenot.
L’Huguenot was also the wine served at the summit this week.