New Trade Deals Between China and South Africa

China is seeking to secure minerals needed to fuel its booming economy.

The two countries inked a series of energy and trade deals on Nov. 17 as the Asian economic power sought to secure minerals needed to fuel its booming economy. The agreements were announced during a bilateral trade commission co-chaired by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

"For the growth path to be a success we require the support of partners such as China," Motlanthe said. "We see the future destiny of our two countries as inextricably linked with the African continent."

Xi, who is expected to be China's next president, is on a three-day tour of South Africa to secure mineral rights and boost trade relations.

China, which last year overtook the United States to become South Africa's largest export destination, mainly imports raw materials such as iron ore, as well as refined iron and steel, to fuel its booming economy.

Trade between the two countries last year totaled about $16 billion. But the relationship was uneven, with South Africa posting a trade deficit of $2.7 billion with China.

In August, South African President Jacob Zuma visited Beijing, signing a slate of cooperation deals on mineral resources, investment in railways, power transmission, construction, mining and nuclear power.

China has assembled an expansive investment portfolio in southern Africa, particularly in Zambia, Angola and Zimbabwe.

Xi is also expected travel to oil-rich Angola and Botswana in visits seen as securing China's energy and resource deals there.

China has unveiled billions of dollars in loans and investment to African governments which analysts have described as the second scramble for African resources after Western colonization.

South Africa has lobbied extensively to join China in the BRIC group of countries, a coalition of emerging economies that also includes Brazil, Russia and India.

The countries are not officially linked but hold summits in an effort to bolster economic cooperation among them.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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