As relations between Denmark and South Africa continue to improve, visiting Danish minister Mogens Jensen says his country will step up trade with the Southern African country by a 50% margin.
Speaking at a bilateral meeting with South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies in Cape Town on 3 November, Jensen said his government regards South Africa “as a port to the rest of Africa”.
Jensen, a minister of Trade and Development Cooperation, said South Africa is one of the favourite destinations for his countrymen, with 27 000 Danes visiting the country each year. In this regard, Denmark is looking into introducing a direct flight from his country to South Africa.
South Africa’s total trade with Denmark has been increasing steadily, from R2.9-billion in 2009, to R4.8-billion in 2013, according to Davies.
“The total exports to Denmark from South Africa increased from R1-billion in 2009 to R1.4-billion in 2011, with the exception of 2010 (R917-million), 2012 (R1- billion) and 2013 (R890-million). The decrease in total exports from South Africa to Denmark in 2012 and 2013, can be attributed to a decline in external demand, due to slow recovery in the EU,” said Davies.
In addition, total imports from Denmark to South Africa have been increasing exponentially since 2009, according to Davies. “Total imports increased from a low base of R1.9-billion in 2009, R1.9-billion in 2011, R2.4-billion in 2012, and R3.9- billion in 2013, with exception of 2010,” he said.
At the meeting, the two ministers also discussed the Bilateral Investment Treaty and the yet-to-be-launched Tripartite Free Trade Area.
On the Bilateral Investment Treaty, Davies said South Africa has submitted a notice of termination of the Bilateral Investment Treaty to the Danish government. Davies said a new investment policy will be drafted to replace the old treaty.
The investment policy aims to modernise and strengthen South Africa’s investment regime by implementing a series of policy measures. These measures will ensure South Africa remains open to foreign investment, provides adequate security and protection to all investors, while preserving the sovereign right of the South African Government to pursue developmental public policy objectives, according to Davies.
On the Tripartite Free Trade Area, Davies said the programme will be launched next month, replacing the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, East African Community and Southern Africa Development Community (COMESA-EAC– SADC).
Adding, Davies said the Tripartite Free Trade Area approach is developmental and rests on three pillars: infrastructure development, industrial development, and market integration. It is envisaged the free trade area will remove barriers to trade and promote regional integration.