SA eyes growing trade, exporting coal to Vietnam

South Africa is looking forward to broadening existing bilateral trade with Vietnam, says Deputy President Paul Mashatile.

“As South Africa we’d like to increase our exports to Vietnam because we believe there is big potential for growth,” said the Deputy President on Friday.

He was speaking at the President Guesthouse in Pretoria where he was hosting his Vietnamese counterpart, Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan on an Official Visit to South Africa.

He told the delegates that South Africa is looking into providing the Southeast Asian country with agricultural agro-processing products.

“Vietnam is also interested in acquiring coal from South Africa and we’ll be able to provide that.”

While bilateral relations have been characterised by “good progress”, the country’s second in charge is of the view that there is room for improvement in some areas.

“There will be areas, Vice President, where we will continue to ask for your support. But we want in particular to work with Vietnam on a number of peace initiatives that we’re engaged with.

“We’re aware that Vietnam supports our peace initiatives on the African continent,” he said.

The two nations are celebrating 30 years of diplomatic relations and the Official Visit aims to reinvigorate and strengthen friendship ties and solidarity as well as to consolidate the multifaceted partnership further.

“I would like to take this opportunity to extend my utmost gratitude and sincere appreciation to you for graciously accepting and honouring my humble invitation for an Official Visit.”

He also thanked Vietnam for supporting South Africa to be part of the sectoral dialogue partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ESEA), which was approved recently.

Vietnam is South Africa’s fifth-largest trading partner in the ASEAN region.

Meanwhile, the total bilateral trade between South Africa and Vietnam in 2022 was valued at R23.8 billion, with imports from Vietnam valued at R18.5 billion and exports to Vietnam valued at R5.2 billion.

The Deputy President told the Vice President that South Africa places great significance on their “enduring” and “robust” relationship with Vietnam.

“Our relations are based on strong historical ties, solidarity and the integral role Vietnam played in the fight against colonialism and racial discrimination.”

He also reflected on the bilateral relationship that has evolved and strengthened over the years, resulting in a diverse and multifaceted partnership characterised by enhanced collaboration in several domains.

He said this includes rapid progress in people-to-people links and strong government-to-government relations.

“As we move forward, it is our sincere hope that these networks, which have already demonstrated their immense potential, will not only maintain their current level of strength and stature but also experience significant and continuous growth in the years to come.”

Deputy President Mashatile said he was pleased that some of the leaders in government have also further consolidated their relations in the energy, mineral resources and higher education sectors.

“South Africa has prioritised new investments as a source of economic growth stimulation with a view to create jobs and reduce poverty and inequality by promoting investment, improving our competitiveness, and leveraging technology and innovation.

“Your presence here highlights the importance that both our countries attach to deepening and broadening our existing bilateral relations, especially in growing our trade and economic ties.”

Source: South African Government News Agency