World Bulletin / News Desk
There is a lot of opportunity to cooperate and increase trade and investment between South Africa and Turkey “without necessarily going into a free trade agreement,” South African Ambassador to Turkey Vika Mazwi Khumalo stated Monday.
“We feel that the free trade agreement will be disadvantageous most specially for South Africa […] However, we need to work with each other for now to reach a very good connected level in our textile sector as well as in the automotive sector,” Khumalo said while speaking at the Turkey-South Africa Business Forum at the Conrad Hotel in Istanbul.
Meanwhile, South African Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Elizabeth Thabethe explained that the FTA had not yet concluded while officials commented on accelerating talks on a free trade agreement after 2016. “But we do not sit and wait. We are trying to increase cooperation between companies by these business forums,” she added.
When asked in which sectors Turkish companies could invest in South Africa, Thabethe told press members that infrastructure was the main area to which they attached special importance “since without roads, companies can not move their products.” She also suggested the textile, clothing, environment and engineering sectors.
Chairman of the Turkish-South African Business Council Tamer Taskin called on companies from both countries to meet and gain knowledge of one another for the increase of trade volume between the countries. "Trade volume is too low. We are trying to increase this volume by forums and visits,” he said.
The trade volume between the two countries is recorded at around $1.5 billion.
Meanwhile, relationships reached a new high with the founding of a bi-national commission when South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe visited Turkey in June last year. The commission was co-chaired by Motlanthe and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and was scheduled to convene in 2014.
The Turkey-South Africa Business Forum was organized by the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK) and Turkish-South African Business Councils in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in Ankara.