The Economic and Trade Exchange Forum between China’s Zhejiang Province and the Eastern Cape Province was held on 10 September 2019 at the Coega Vulindlela Village in Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa.
Facilitated by the Coega Development Corporation the Trade Exchange Forum seeks to leverage local business exports to the province of Zhejiang.
South Africa is Zhejiang’s largest source of imports. Imports from SA hit $1 Billion in the first half of 2019 representing 42% of the total imports from Africa.
The main exports to Zhejiang from South Africa are: Iron Ore, Scrap Metal, Wool, Wine and Fruits.
Overshadowing the Trade Forum is the ongoing xenophobic violence elsewhere in South Africa, leading to a few more visible ‘heavies’ dotted around the Village and a slight feel of nervousness from our guests.
That such export trade is being promoted and nurtured by our local governmental agencies is admirable. Wait for the BUT!
What I cannot get my head around is the fact that we have to export products such as Iron Ore, Scrap Metal, Wool etc. For years we have been exporting our most basic of products, ignoring the benefication process, allowing our Chinese cousins to beneficate and then we import mass produced goods back into South Africa.
As an example – the local Transnet Ports Authority is positively squirming with delight as they anticipate exporting an additional 60 000 tons of Manganese Ore per month out of the Port of Port Elizabeth, which we will import back as steel to make cars.
These questions need to be dealt with:
- “Why are we exporting raw materials?”
- “Why are we allowing foreign countries to buy us up piece by piece?”
- “Why don’t we stand together as the United States of Africa?”
Surely we could get together with our neighbouring African Countries and literally divide up the labour and manufacturing effort according to each countries skill set.
The reliance that we place on mega-economies such as China beggars belief. I, personally, get the sense that we are grateful for scraps from the table of the master in place of pricing our raw materials at a premium AFTER benfication!
Of course the aspersions will always be that we are xenophobic if we exclude another country/race from doing business with us…
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