Deputy President off to Vietnam, Singapore to boost trade

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will depart the country on Sunday to undertake a two-nation diplomatic working visit to Vietnam and Singapore.

The Presidency said on Sunday the visits are aimed at strengthening bilateral, political, economic and trade relations between South Africa and the two countries.

The working visit to Vietnam, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, will be used to break into new and possible areas of trade and investment to help unlock trade imbalances between South Africa and Vietnam.

One of south-east Asia’s fastest-growing economies, Vietnam offers great trading opportunities for South African companies particularly in transport, mining, road and infrastructure and the defence industry.

The country is internationally recognised for its expertise in the field of missile defence systems.

“Deputy President Ramaphosa will seek to diversify South African exports to Vietnam by identifying new areas for market access of South African products. The Deputy President will also explore possibilities of increasing the number of South African students receiving training in maritime economy,” the Presidency said.

Currently there are six South African students studying at the maritime university in Hai Phong, Hanoi.

Pretoria hopes to also increase study courses to include ship building as Vietnam’s shipbuilding industry is ranked 5th in the world with 60 ship-building and repairing yards.

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. Aquaculture is the farming of fish, crustaceans and aquatic plants. It involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions.

While the South African government is only exploring the sector recently, the Vietnamese have utilised aquaculture as one of their key development programmes in addressing the challenges of poverty and unemployment.

There is a continuing increase in the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries which has grown significantly from R13.4 billion to R18.5 billion in 2015.

This means that Vietnam the fourth largest trading partner of South Africa in the Asian region.

Deputy President Ramaphosa will conclude his visit to Vietnam on Tuesday ahead of his planned visit to Singapore from Wednesday to Friday.

Source: Government Communication and Information System.