Foreign affairs

SA, Brazil trade 'still largely untapped'

SA, Brazil trade 'still largely untapped'
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While South Africa and Brazil's political and business relations are solidly grounded, there is huge untapped potential in trade and investment between the two countries, says Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Elizabeth Thabethe.

Thabethe was addressing local and South African business people during a seminar in Sao Paulo on Tuesday as part of a five-day mission to Brazil organised by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

"Both Brazil and South Africa have globally competitive expertise and products in a range of value-adding sectors which we are sharing with global trading partners, but not necessarily yet with each other," Thabethe said.

"As such we are keen to further enhance bilateral trade by also looking at developing complementarities and increasing bilateral sales of value-added goods. It is in the area of value added trade where substantial returns can be found."

Thabethe was accompanied by a delegation of South African business people on her mission to the cities of Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Curitiba, which began on Monday and was due to end on Friday.

Thabethe told the Brazilian business delegates on Tuesday that South Africa was not only a vibrant and growing economy, but also a unique base for doing business on the African continent.

"South Africa has well developed infrastructure and telecommunications as well as a strong banking and financial systems. In addition, South African companies have developed skills and expertise in operating on the continent, while our financial institutions are experienced in funding projects and operations in various African countries."

Africa is one of the fast growing regions in the world, Thabethe said, with a young population of close to one-billion people constituting the new frontier in consumer growth.

South Africa's ambassador to Brazil, Mphakama Mbete, told the forum that "virtually all business activities in South Africa are open to international investors and foreign investments, and they are treated in the same way as domestic investments.

"In this regard there are various incentives such as export initiative programmes, tax allowances and trade regulations. This situation provides for a predictable and safe investment environment in South Africa," Mbete said.

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