Chi­nese con­nec­tion

Trade ex­changes in off­ing as par­ties sign MoU deals

Talk of the Town - - Front Page - JON HOUZET

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.

Pic­ture: JON HOUZET

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...

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