Premier Zille and Minister Winde to boost China-Western Cape trade ties

Premier Helen Zille and Economic Opportunities Minister Alan Winde will lead a delegation to China to bolster trade and investment between that region and the Western Cape.

Premier Zille and Minister Winde will depart for the official visit this weekend.

The programme includes meeting with the South African Ambassador to China, Dolana Msimang and the SA Consuls General to Hong Kong and Shanghai. Meetings have also been scheduled with South African businesses based in China, Chinese businesses and trade bodies.

A key focus of the visit will be to strengthen China-Western Cape partnerships in the province’s priority areas, including tourism, agri-processing and renewable energy.

The agenda includes meetings with importers of South African products and China-based tour operators.

Premier Zille and Minister Winde will also attend two of China’s biggest trade shows, Food Hotel China and ProWine China, to support a group of Western Cape companies exhibiting their products to Chinese buyers.

As the world’s second largest economy, China is a vital trading partner. Project Khulisa, the Western Cape’s growth strategy, has identified China as a strategic market.

During 2013, the Western Cape’s exports to China were valued at over R2 billion. In 2015 alone, two Chinese companies invested over R300 million in setting up operations in the Western Cape.

Minister Winde said the Western Cape Government was seeking to increase collaboration in Project Khulisa’s focus sectors.

“Furthering trade with China is a key part of our agri-processing strategy. Under Project Khulisa,  we are aiming to add up to a further 100 000 jobs to the local economy. Our action plan for the sector includes doubling wine exports to China by 2025. Platforms such as the ProWine China trade show and engagements with Wines of South Africa (WOSA) Hong Kong provide excellent entry points to showcase Western Cape wines.

“In the tourism sector, our goal is to grow annual international arrivals to 2.1 million up from 1.5 million. Project Khulisa also set a target of increasing the value of the tourism sector to R28 billion, up from the current R17 billion. China is the world’s top spender in international tourism. Chinese tourists spent US$165 billion during overseas trips in 2014. The visa regulations are the biggest threat facing the tourism sector. Lobby efforts have paid off and there have at least been some concessions. We will reassure the Chinese tourism sector that we will continue to lobby for more friendly visa laws.”