South Africa’s bilateral trade with China grew by almost a third between 2012 and last year, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question on Wednesday he said China had been the country’s single largest trading partner since 2009.

“Two-way trade between South Africa and China continues to grow… [it] increased from R205bn in 2012 to R270bn at the end of 2013; a 32% increase.”

The trade balance favoured China.

“South Africa’s trade deficit with China [increased] from R36bn in 2012 to R38bn [last year].”

Davies said the composition of the bilateral trade remained a concern for South Africa.

“Over 90% of South Africa’s top 10 exports to China are in raw materials, while 100% of our top 10 imports from China are manufactured products.”

Both countries had recognised that this was not sustainable.

“There is indeed scope to expand South Africa’s exports to China in value-added manufactured products.”

Davies said Chinese investments in South Africa continued to grow.

“Between January 2003 and January [this year], a total of 38 FDI [foreign direct investment] projects were recorded. These projects represent a total capital investment of R13.33bn, which is an average investment of R350.48m per project.

“During the period, a total of 10 992 jobs were created,” he said.