EU commits to strengthening trade relations with SA

The European Union (EU) has recommitted to strengthening its trade relations with South Africa.

Currently the EU is South Africa’s largest trading partner and largest foreign investor, representing 75 percent of total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) stocks in the country.

Speaking at the Southern African European CEO Dialogue, EU Ambassador to SA, Riiana Kionka said: “The Africa Continental Free Trade Area is a key driver for growth and South Africa plays a key role by implementing several steps to reinforce bilateral and regional relations, focusing on the implementation of the EU-SA Strategic Partnership”.

This includes economic and trade cooperation and pursuing the improvement of business climate and opportunities for investment and job creation which are of mutual interest.

“The European Union has been a stable and resilient partner of South Africa, through the toughest times. Whilst South African exports in 2018 have decreased by 3.1% overall, South Africa’s exports to the EU have increased by 2.8%, particularly in the automobile sector.This is testament of our preferential agreement, Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

She further mentioned the important role Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) play as an engine for growth and job creation in the EU.

“In Europe, this is known as the backbone of the economy. We believe there is a huge potential for SMMEs to grow the economy and promote job creation.

In conclusion, she welcomed the blueprint for South Africa’s future energy mix. But advised that more needs to be done if South Africa wants to attract investments by EU companies at the scale and efficiency they demonstrated in the past under the Renewable Programme.

Source: Gauteng Province