South African President Jacob Zuma, right, is seeking to boost trade on a trip to China this week. South Africa aims to tap trade and investment in "BRIC" economies Brazil, Russia, India and China.
For Beijing, the visit by Zuma will be an opportunity to consolidate ties with African countries, where China is increasingly turning for resources, markets and diplomatic support. Late last year, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao offered Africa $10-billion in concessional loans over three years.
Many ANC officials are starting to see the fast growth of China and other BRIC economies as proof that the state should be doing more to nurture growth -- a departure from the free-market orthodoxy that has prevailed since the end of apartheid in 1994. While Zuma is in Beijing, China and South Africa are expected to sign agreements that will include cooperation on mineral resources and transport, and to address lopsided bilateral trade flows.
China is South Africa's largest trading partner, but last year South Africa ran a $2.7-billion trade deficit with China. A Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement that Zuma will sign is expected to address that. This agreement is expected to deal with the trade imbalance between the two countries and with the fact that South Africa still exports raw materials to China while importing finished products into our market. (Engineering News, 8/23/2010)