Pretoria- South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will later today, Sunday 02 October 2016, depart the country to undertake a two-nation diplomatic working visit to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Republic of Singapore respectively from Monday-Friday 03-07 October 2016.
The visits are aimed at strengthening bilateral political, economic and trade relations between South Africa and the two countries.
The working visit to Vietnam from Monday-Tuesday 03-04 October 2016 takes place at the invitation of the Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister, A�?ng Thi Ng?c Th?nh and will be utilised to break into new and possible areas of trade and investment to help unlock trade imbalances between South Africa and Vietnam.
Bilateral trade between the two countries has grown significantly from R13.4 billion to R18.5 billion in 2015 making Vietnam the fourth largest trading partner of South Africa in the Asian region.
By 2015 South African imports from Vietnam amounted to R16.3 billion from R11.5 billion in 2014 while exports are at R2.3 billion in 2015 from R1.9 billion in 2014 thus creating trade deficit for South Africa to the tune of R13.7 billion.
Vietnam offers great trading opportunities for South African companies particularly in the transport, mining sector, road and infrastructure including the defence industry. Vietnam is internationally recognised for its expertise in the field of missile defence systems.
In this regard, the visit of Deputy President Ramaphosa will also seek to diversify South African exports to Vietnam by identifying new areas for market access of South African products.
Deputy President will also explore possibilities of increasing the number of South African students receiving training in Maritime Economy.
Currently there are six South African students studying at the Maritime University in Hai Phong, Hanoi. South Africa hopes to also increase study courses to include ship building. Vietnam’s shipbuilding industry is ranked 5th in the world with 60 ship-building and repairing yards.
Equally, Deputy President Ramaphosa’s working visit is expected to culminate in a partnership between Vietnam and South Africa in the development of South Africa’s aquaculture sector.
Vietnam has utilised aquaculture as one of their key development programmes in addressing the challenges of poverty and unemployment.
To deepen bilateral political, economic and trade relations the two countries launched the Partnership Forum for Economic, Trade, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Co-operation in 2004 to regulate relations between the two countries.
The Partnership Forum has thus far agreed to expand co-operation to include the areas of defence, security, justice, agriculture, environment, water resources, transport, education and science and technology.
Deputy President Ramaphosa will conclude his visit to Vietnam on Tuesday 4 October ahead of his planned visit to Singapore from 5-7 October 2016.
Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa.