Trade mission to South Africa set to boost Thai-SA trade

A high-level Thailand trade delegation will travel to South Africa later in September to build on the strong trade links between the two countries.

Led by the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) of the Thai Ministry of Commerce, representatives of food and beverage, automotive parts and homeware, machinery and construction firms will travel to South Africa from 18 to 22 September 2017 for meetings with potential business partners in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

With a history of over 24 years of cordial diplomatic relations and fast-growing trade ties, Thailand is South Africa’s ninth largest trading partner, and South Africa is Thailand’s largest trading partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. Bilateral trade volumes have increased steadily in recent years, with double-digit growth annually. In 2016, bilateral trade topped R36-billion, a significant increase on the R31-billion in 2015.

Mutually beneficial bilateral trade relations also received a boost recently with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between South Africa’s national investment promotion agency, Investment South Africa (ISA) and the Board of Investment Thailand to promote cooperation between the two countries on investments in the automotive, agro-processing and electronics sectors, as well as a visit to Thailand by the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation. Large-scale infrastructure projects in Thailand provide opportunities for South African exports of machinery, iron and steel and mineral products in particular. Among the top Thai exports to South Africa are food and beverage products; automotive parts and accessories; building and construction; furniture; fashion; health and beauty products.

According to the DITP, Thailand has enjoyed rapid economic development over the past two decades thanks in part to heavy investment in advanced technology and research to improve the quality of its exports and services continually. Boasting a skilled workforce, competitively-priced products and an advanced infrastructure, Thailand is aiming to strengthen trade ties in the South African and pan-African markets.

Committing to continue an upward Thailand-South Africa trade growth curve, the Minister of the Office of Commercial Affairs at the Royal Thai Embassy, Aphirak Paepuang said that, as strategic economic development hubs in their respective regions, Thailand and South Africa have much to offer each other in terms of bilateral trade and investment, and serve as mutual gateways to new trade regions.

Building on previous successful trade missions to South Africa, Thailand’s Department of Trade Promotion and the Office of Commercial Affairs at the Royal Thai Embassy in Pretoria will host business-to-business meetings between Thai manufacturers and exporters and South African importers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers.

Food products, for which Thailand is widely acclaimed and which represent a key export sector, will be one area of focus during the meetings. Several top food, beverage and homeware manufacturers, including Bangsue Chia Meng Rice Mill, Boonrawd Trading International, Phootawan Thai Dried Fruit, Siam Golden Rice, SN Foods and Marketing, The Cool Manufacturing and N.V. Aranyik, will showcase a broad range of products including dried fruit; rice and rice products; tea and coffee products; frozen fish products and squid; seaweed snacks and rice crackers; cutlery and hollowware, and specialised supermarket and catering fridges and display coolers.

The automotive sector, an area in which South Africa is particularly keen to expand trade ties, will also be represented during the upcoming trade mission. Automotive parts and accessories producers Toyota Tsusho, TPN Global Business and Unicom Auto Parts will showcase a range of auto parts and accessories while construction materials firm Panel Plus will highlight its range of melamine faced panels, particle boards and MDF products.

Contact Sue Bowden, DITP, Tel 011 728-5878, sue@africainfo.co.za

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