DEPUTY President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged the Japanese to engage with South Africa in an effort to “catapult bilateral trade and investment relationships to new heights”.
Addressing the Japanese Captains of Industry on Monday, the Deputy President used the opportunity to promote South Africa as a preferred destination of trade and foreign direct investment.
He told the Japanese of the many projects such as National Development Plan, the launch of the Industrial Development Zones (IDZs), such as the Coega Industrial Development Zone in the Eastern Cape, and the Dube Trade Port in KwaZulu-Natal and the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in North West province, Saldanha Bay and the solar corridor in the Northern Cape as well as Operation Phakisa which are aimed at boosting the economy in the long run.
Ramaphosa, who is on an official visit to Japan to strengthen and consolidate strategic bilateral, political and economic relations between the two nations, also told the Japanese investors that South Africa remains open for business.
Japan currently featured as South Africa’s third largest trading partner in the world with total trade amounting to approximately USD 8 billion in 2014.
During the same period, Japan became the second largest export partner and third largest import partner on the Asian Continent.
Currently, there are 280 Japanese companies operating in South Africa, and 13 South African companies in Japan.
However, although South Africa has been enjoying a trade surplus with Japan over the last five years, the composition of the trade basket needs to be addressed, said Ramaphosa.
“As Captains of Japanese Industries the onus is upon you to ensure that these trade imbalances are rectified in favour of a more diversified trade basket.
“In pursuance of this aspiration, I propose the introduction of cooperation in the field of innovation, technology and SME development,” he said, adding that Pretoria remains a gateway to the rest of the continent.
He urged the Japanese business community to engage with South Africa’s BEE institutions such as the “Business Unity South Africa” and the “Black Business Council”.
As a developing country, South Africa is taking various measures to free its people from the clutches of poverty and inequality.
Ramaphosa’s visit was aimed at promoting South Africa as a destination for foreign direct investment and trade.
His delegation included several Cabinet ministers, deputy ministers, senior government officials, and the CEOs of South African companies, including Transnet, Karan Beef, PPC, KPMG, the Maponya Group, and a number of other BEE companies.
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