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Business & Technology
Mar 16 2012 10:56AM
Initiative to boost SA-India trade, investment
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Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Elizabeth Thabethe is leading a delegation of South African companies to India next week, she said on Friday, to promote trade and investment between the two countries.

Business leaders will visit Chennai and Mumbai from March 19 to 23.

Between 2006 and 2010, bilateral trade between South Africa and India has grown from R16.3 billion to R43 billion and is in South Africa's favour, the department said.

Trade growth over the past four years has averaged 30.4 percent.

The initiative forms part of the department's export and investment promotion strategy, said Thabethe, speaking by phone from India where she is preparing for the tour.

The aim is to create market penetration for South African value-added products and services in India and to promote South Africa as a trade and investment destination.

South Africa will showcase its capabilities in agro-processing, beneficiated metals, mining technology, automotive components, electro-technical and logistics.

Thabethe said 44 small companies and emerging entrepreneurs were represented in the delegation, with over 60 businesses participating in total.

"There are some lessons we can learn from India," she said.

In order to create five million jobs by 2020, South Africa would need to learn from economies such as India, and localise the lessons to adapt to local conditions, she said.

India's first class technology companies assisted its sectors to move "at the cutting edge," she said.

She said the initiative would enable emerging exporters to learn about the export process and to gain insight into the Indian market.

While South Africa mainly exports raw materials and unprocessed goods to India, such as coal, scrap metal and ore, it aims to export more value-added products and services.

Currently, Indian imports include petroleum oils, vehicles, telephone handsets and cellphones, and equipment.

In addition, many Indian multinationals have entered the South African market, including Tata, Mahindra, Cipla, Ranbaxy, and Ashok Leyland.

Total foreign direct investment from India to South Africa, to date, amounts to around R28.8 billion.

South African multinationals have also been active in India.

South African Breweries acquired a majority stake in Mysore Breweries and energy giant Sasol is exploring the possibility of setting up a multibillion dollar plant in India.

In addition the Airports Company of South Africa, as part of GVK Consortium, won a bid for the modernisation of Mumbai Airport.

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