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Chongqing and South Africa Explore Deeper Economic Ties in Cooperation Seminar


Chongqing -The China (Chongqing)-South Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation Seminar was held on March 23rd in Chongqing, where representatives from various sectors, including government departments, industrial parks, business associations, and private enterprises, discussed mutual opportunities. The discussions encompassed a range of fields, including automobiles, electro-mechanical, agriculture, medical care, tourism, and vocational education.

In recent years, South Africa has become the most significant African trade partner for Chongqing Municipality, and the level of economic and trade exchange between the two countries has continuously deepened. The total import and export volume between Chongqing and South Africa reached 4.11 billion in 2022, representing a year-on-year increase of 39.3%.

The South African Ambassador to China, Siyabonga Cwele, spoke at the seminar, stating that over 180 well-known Chinese companies successfully operate in South Africa, demonstrating the growing mutual trust and economic ties between the two countries. He also highlighted South Africa's economic advantages, including an industrious workforce, abundant natural and mineral resources, world-class infrastructure, sophisticated telecommunications systems, and a well-regulated and globally respected financial and banking sector fully integrated across the entire African continent."

Chen Xiaodong, Ambassador of China to South Africa, addresses China (Chongqing)-South Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation Seminar held in Chongqing on March 23rd, 2023. (Photograph/James Alexander)

Ran Yujia, a second-level inspector of the Chongqing Municipal Commission of Commerce, highlighted the significant potential for cooperation between Chongqing and South Africa. She noted that while South Africa has the most advanced industrialization level in Africa, Chongqing has a robust reputation in the manufacturing industry, providing a solid foundation for comprehensive cooperation.

Ran suggested that both sides actively establish an exchange platform and inject new vitality into the strategic partnership between China and Africa to further promote mutually beneficial trade relations.

During the seminar, the Chongqing Committee of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade signed a cooperation agreement with the Economic Section of the South African Embassy in China. This agreement aims to establish a cooperation mechanism with more trade organizations and business associations in South Africa, taking bilateral exchange and cooperation to new heights.

Agriculture Sector Offers Rich Cooperation Prospects

Vocational education has long been a focus of cooperation between Chongqing and South Africa. Since 2019, the Chongqing College of Electronic Engineering and six other institutions from related fields have launched projects for government-sponsored overseas students and internships for South Africans in China, with a total of 155 students admitted in Chongqing under this program to date.

Representatives from Chongqing, the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa, and private enterprises take a group photograph at China (Chongqing)-South Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation Seminar. (Photograph/James Alexander)

In the field of agricultural cooperation, Cheng Shikun, the deputy general manager of Chongqing Agricultural Investment Group, emphasized the company's readiness to play a leading role as a bridge connecting the two sides through enterprise. He voiced his eagerness to see Chongqing's characteristic food products grace household tables in South Africa, promoting a high-quality standard of living.

Moreover, high-quality products from South Africa are welcome to enter the Chinese market through Chongqing, enriching the variety of consumer goods available. In the future, there are hopes to increase the volume of import and export goods covering seafood, wine, sugar, and beef, while exploring equitable cooperation opportunities for processed goods such as dairy products.

Mr. Molatelo Mamadi, Agricultural Counsellor of the South African Embassy in China, commented that the South African agricultural sector's vigorous development has made it a preferred destination for investment, with agricultural training and research heavily featured in the national education system.

"I hope the partnership between Chongqing, Mpumalanga Province, and Buffalo City will continue to develop exchange and training programs in these fields to achieve mutual benefit and win-win results," Mr. Mamadi added.


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