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Zuma challenges India and SA to achieve R76bn trade

By unknown | Jun 04, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has challenged South African and Indian businesses to raise bilateral trade to $10billion (about R76,4billion) by 2012.

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has challenged South African and Indian businesses to raise bilateral trade to $10billion (about R76,4billion) by 2012.

"While our trade has been focused on the exchange of valuable commodities, raw materials and feedstock, we believe true potential benefits lie in the expansion of value added trade," Zuma said in India yesterday.

"The recent inclusion of products such as vehicles, automotive components and pharmaceuticals in the basket of traded goods is a positive signal of things to come," he told the relaunch of the India-South Africa chief executive officers' business forum.

Zuma was accompanied by Cabinet ministers and a business delegation representing more than 200 companies.

The visit to India is the second in as many months to a BRIC (Brazil, Russia India, China) country.

Zuma's visit comes amid reports that Indian mobile carrier Reliance Communications is considering a merger with MTN.

Reliance and MTN had planned a tie-up in 2008 but the deal was thwarted by issues within the Reliance family.

Zuma said India was an important partner of South Africa politically, socially and economically.

There was total trade of $4,5billion (about R34billion) between SA and India last year, up from $45million (about R344million) when diplomatic relations were established in 1993. South African investment stock from India amounted to $6billion (about R45billion).

Key Indian investors included companies such as Tata, Nalco, Cipla, Apollo, Godrej, Genpact, Aegis, Mahindra & Mahindra, Ashok Leyland and Aurobindo Pharmaceuticals.

SA investors in India included Tiger Brands, the Airports Company SA, Bidvest, SAB Miller, First Rand Bank, Standard Bank, Old Mutual, Balela Leisure, Anglo-American, Sasol and Nandos Group Holdings.

India and SA were also partnered with Brazil (the IBSA initiative) to leverage industrial and commercial synergies towards increasing the countries' global competitiveness.

"We believe that in India, South Africa has an ally whose trade and investment opportunities provide the necessary synergies," Zuma said. - Sapa, Reuters and staff reporter


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