China, South Africa sign eco­nomic pacts

Rail project, deals on in­vest­ment, trade, agri­cul­ture in mix

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHAO SHENGNAN zhaosheng­nan@chi­

China and South Africa signed 11 agree­ments, in­clud­ing one on trans­porta­tion, on Thurs­day in Beijing as top lead­ers of the world’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy and the African eco­nomic pow­er­house laid the ground­work for co­op­er­a­tion for the next decade.

The mem­o­ran­dum on co­op­er­a­tion be­tween CSR Zhuzhou Elec­tric Lo­co­mo­tive and Transnet, South Africa’s state-owned freight trans­port and lo­gis­tics company, came after the African coun­try em­barked on one of the world’s big­gest rail projects to over­haul its pas­sen­ger trains.

The other agree­ments in­cluded a pro­gram for co­op­er­a­tion over the next 10 years, and to boost trade, in­vest­ment and agri­cul­ture.

De­vel­op­ing the Sino-South African re­la­tion­ship is a pri­or­ity of Chi­nese for­eign pol­icy, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping told South African Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma in their meet­ings be­fore the sign­ing.

Zuma said South Africa wel­comed Chi­nese en­ter­prises’ in­vest­ment, and their par­tic­i­pa­tion in his coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment of in­fra­struc­ture, spe­cial eco­nomic zones and in­dus­trial parks.

Zuma ar­rived in Beijing on Wed­nes­day, ac­com­pa­nied by a 100-mem­ber business del­e­ga­tion and sev­eral min­is­ters.

Zuma said be­fore his ar­rival that one ma­jor goal of the visit is to en­sure that ties “re­main cen­tral to re­al­iz­ing our de­vel­op­men­tal agenda through our for­eign pol­icy”.

China has been South Africa’s sin­gle largest trad­ing part­ner for many years, and South Africa is China’s largest trad­ing part­ner in Africa.

China’s ac­cu­mu­lated in­vest­ment in South Africa reached $11 bil­lion by the end of 2013, said Tian Xue­jun, the Chi­nese am­bas­sador to South Africa.

How­ever, South Africa wants more in­vest­ment from China to boost its in­dus­tries and man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­ity and to re­duce the coun­try’s heavy re­liance on the min­ing sec­tor, said Yang Lihua, an ex­pert on African stud­ies at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences.

Yang said that both sides have a great po­ten­tial for co­op­er­a­tion as South Africa is de­voted to push­ing for­ward in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion and China is un­der­go­ing in­dus­trial re­con­struc­tion.

A stronger re­la­tion­ship will also en­cour­age closer co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and the rest of Africa, she added.

One-third of Chi­nese trade with the con­ti­nent in 2013 was with South Africa, AFP re­ported.

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