Trade exchanges in offing as parties sign MoU deals
Chinese investors may soon be doing business in Sarah Baartman District Municipality if memorandums of understanding (MoU) progress into trade agreements.
Five visiting Chinese companies – three involved in construction, one in imports and exports and one in foreign investment – signed the MoUs with Sarah Baartman mayor Eunice Kekana and acting municipal manager Unathi Daniels after a one-day investment and cooperation conference at the Royal St Andrews Hotel on Tuesday.
Explaining the conference, Daniels said: “We have a partnership, or a friendship agreement with Jincheng City in China going back 10 years. We have kept visiting each other – Sarah Baartman officials have also been to Jincheng.
“We’ve hosted their young artists at the National Arts Festival in 2016 and last year they hosted a young marimba band from St Francis Bay for the Chinese New Year – a 20-day festival.”
Daniels said there were agreements with Jincheng to partner on education, tourism, economic development and agriculture.
“We’re planning to send seven grade 12 pupils to study tourism and agriculture in Jincheng next year, and Jincheng has agreed to help us open a tourism office in Jincheng and Shanghai.”
Daniels said Jincheng was a city similar in size to Port Elizabeth, and was a three-hour flight from the major city of Shanghai.
The visiting companies on the current tour had been exposed to opportunities for investment in the Sarah Baartman district.
There was an excited atmosphere at the MoU signing, with the signatories toasting each other with wine and visiting Chinese business representatives crowding around to take photos with their cellphones.
“The MoUs signed today were acknowledging our relationship with them,” Daniels said. “They also need to show these documents back in China as proof they were here for business and not just shopping.
“There’s currently no financial implication in the agreement – it just shows intent. It confirms we are starting a relationship with them.”
The companies are SIIC Shanghai International Trade Group, Sino Investment Management Co Ltd, Shanxi Lu’an Engineering Co Ltd, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation and China Communications Construction Company.
“We hope one of the construction companies will make an offer to build new offices for Sarah Baartman District Municipality – we’re moving from Port Elizabeth to Kirkwood, and that the export/import company will help with tourism,” Daniels said.
She said the companies would be hosting Sarah Baartman officials and local products producers at the Shanghai International Expo in November.
FOREIGN RELATIONS: Officials from Sarah Baartman District Municipality raise their glasses in a toast with visiting Chinese business representatives after signing memorandums of understanding (MoUs) for potential trade agreements. From left are the...