September 6, 2004
Posted to the web September 7, 2004
Patrick Wadula , Senior Business Correspondent
TRADE and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa has called for increased bilateral trade between SA and Brazil.
The trade balance favours Brazil, SA's 30th-largest trading partner.
Mpahlwa was speaking at the SA-Brazil seminar in Sun City at the weekend. He said a review of trade data between the two countries indicated that the trade level was still relatively low. At the end of 2003, trade between the two countries stood at R6,7bn.
"While this represents an improvement from the trade value of R2,4bn registered in1998, the challenges that confront both our economies require far more interaction at the trade level between us.
"But I think that the overwhelming sense that prevails with regard to our relationship is that this is only the beginning," said Mpahlwa.
While the trade balance favoured Brazil, this was testament to the serious manner in which Brazilian business people had utilised the opportunities that improved existing trade relations between the two countries, he said.
"At the same time, this poses a challenge to South African business people. There is a clear need for South African companies to acquaint themselves with the Brazilian market and explore the opportunities that this market presents."
Mpahlwa said the outcome of the Southern African Customs Union-Mercosur trade negotiations would present further opportunities that needed to be fully utilised.
"We expect the first phase of our negotiations, which involve an exchange of fixed preferences, will be completed by the end of the year.
He said that successful trade relations between the two countries were dependent on an appropriate regulatory environment.
In this regard, significant progress could be noted.