(Yicai Global) Sept. 11 -- South Africa, which mainly ships bulk commodities such as oil, metal, and agricultural products to China, wants to expand its exports via the upcoming first China International Import Expo in about two months.
The CIIE offers an opportunity for South Africa to tap into the Chinese market, Minister Counselor Economic Charles Manuel of the South African Embassy to China, told Yicai Global. The country hopes to show the best of South Africa at the expo, such as its wine products, its special economic zone and innovations, he added.
Enlarging exports to China requires considerable effort due to a lack of updated knowledge of market conditions, Manuel said. South African firms have doubts over the protection of intellectual property rights in China, but China has actually taken a raft of measures to punish violations of related rights through strict regulation, Manuel said.
Another weak point is the language barrier, which affects the companies understanding of local regulations written in Chinese. A lack of manpower and money invested by the South African government and firms is also a limiting factor, Manuel said, comparing those to other strongly investing nations such as the UK and the US.
With larger efforts, emerging markets and developing countries like South Africa would be able to unleash their huge potential in resources and ability of market expansion. A good case in point is exports of the South African wine to China over the past eight years, Manuel mentions.
WSA helps South Africa's wine firms to expand to Asian markets, mainly China and Japan, by organizing trade fairs such as ProWine China 2018 and Look for South African Delicacy in other provinces than the most developed markets of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, as well as Brilliant South Africa open days. Those activities contributed to a significant surge in the amount of wine exported to China, with the number more than tripling to 17.5 million liters last year from 2013.
South Africa is also a major destination of investment from China while more could be done, according to Jeremy Stevens, an economist at the South Africa-headquartered Standard Bank Group. The key issue in realizing a more balanced China-South Africa trade relationship lies in how to rely on trade with China to boost investments to South Africa, exploit local assets, and promote the economy of a local community, create jobs and generate revenue in a fundamental way, Stevens told Yicai Global.
In terms of trade, South Africa should export local products to regional markets on the basis of meeting local demands, Stevens added.
The CIIE will be held on Nov. 5 to 10 at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai.
Editor: Emmi Laine