THAILAND AND SOUTH AFRICA are targeting two-way trade at US$9.5 billion by 2017 under an investment-promotion agreement to be signed in October by the Board of Investment of Thailand and Trade and Investment South Africa.
Nisa Srisuworanant, deputy director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said yesterday that the two countries saw each other as springboards to their respective regions.
She said she discussed forging closer trade and investment ties with Victor Mashabela, chief director of South Africa’s Trade and Industry Department, at a recent meeting of the Thailand-South Africa Joint Trade Commission.
Thailand proposed that South Africa import more agricultural and industrial products, mainly rice, rubber and automobile parts.
South Africa asked for Thailand to help develop and add value to processed farm products, chemical products, jewellery and ornaments, and auto parts.
The two countries also agreed to launch more trade-promotion activities.
South Africa will facilitate imports of fruits including mangosteen and longan from Thailand, while this country will favour imports of grapes and apples from South Africa, by stimulating analysis process of fruit for pests. Thai and South African businesses will join in promoting their automobile and parts industries at the Auto Components Fair in South Africa this October.
Thailand is South Africa’s largest trading partner in Asean, while South Africa is the biggest market for Thailand in Africa.
In the past five years, average two-way trade has approached $3.48 billion a year, with the balance always in Thailand’s favour. Last year, two-way shipments were $4.84 billion (Bt156 billion) and Thailand’s surplus was $372.77 million. Africa accounts for 1.0 per cent of Thailand’s exports.