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Saturday, 28 March 2015 22:13

South Africa Keen On Doing Business With Russia

Presentation_of_South_Africa_by_Mr_Pumla_NcapayiDeputyDirectorGeneraliMOSCOW/NOVOSIBIRSK, March 28, 2015 (SANews/Buziness Africa) -- South African companies have been urged to take up the favourable opportunities offered by Moscow and expand their product footprint. Several South African business delegation in Moscow for the Investment and Trade Initiative (ITI).

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) headed a delegation of 25 businesspeople to the 6th Investment and Trade Initiative (ITI) from 23 - 27 March (consist of investment seminars, business-to-business meetings and site visits to expose the delegation to the way Russians do business) in Moscow and Novosibirsk in the Russian Federation.

The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mzwandile Masina, said the ITI to Russia is one of the initiatives by the department to strengthen trade relations between South Africa and that country, especially since the two countries are members of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

"This trade mission is an opportunity to advance South Africa's export and investment agenda in the sectors of agriculture and agro-processing and also food-related products," said Deputy Minister Masina.

He said the trade mission will provide a platform to promote South African products to potential new customers to obtain new business and penetrate new markets. South Africa's participation will also have a positive impact in terms of increasing export sales and joint ventures with Russia.

"The purpose of the ITI is to advance South Africa's export and investment agenda in Russia and to strengthen commercial and economic relations between the two countries," Deputy Minister Masina said.

Speaking at the seminar, Deputy Director of Foreign Relations in the Government of Moscow, Evgeny Dridze, said Moscow had developed the retail market to the tune of USD 70 billion in 2014, part of which comprises one million square meters of shopping malls that have been built.

He said there was currently more demand and less supply of products in the city and therefore international companies were welcome to make the city market more competitive. "The Department of External and Economic Relations is willing to assist companies that want to enter the market so as to increase the diversity of products available in the market," added Dridze.

Attendees_at_BSA_Business_Forum_Reiterating the message, the Ambassador of South Africa to Russia, Mandisi Mpahlwa, said South Africa was serious about expanding its product footprint in the country, including other regions of Russia.

According to him, this opportune time came to reinforce the work that had already been done to expand the bucket of trade goods to Russia. "The fact that this is the second trade mission to the country in a space of five months demonstrates how serious South Africa is to take up opportunities available in the market," said Mpahlwa.

Mpahlwa said the number of businesspeople who had shown interest and made efforts to come back to Russia to follow up on trade links, and of Russians going to South Africa, was an indication that relations were being created and confidence was being built in the areas of co-operation.

He also added that he was delighted that businesspeople were utilising platforms availed by government, especially the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) to create links and interact with each other.

The over-subscribed seminar was followed by business-to-business meetings where Russian companies expressed a lot of interest in the showcased South African products.

The ITI continued the second leg in Novosibirsk.

South Africa wants to expand its product footprint and bring business to Russia as it wants to be part of the developments taking place in the region, says Ambassador of South Africa to Russia, Mandisi Mpahlwa. Mpahlwa was speaking at the business seminar held in the capital of Siberian region, Novosibirsk, in Russia.

The seminar, which was attended by both South African and Russian businesspeople in the sector of agriculture and food production, was part of the second leg of the Investment and Trade Initiative (ITI) currently underway in Russia.

According to Mpahlwa, this ITI, is the first to be held in the Novosibirsk and was surely the beginning of others to come. "This trade mission is important because it is a culmination of the work that we have been doing to expand our footprint in the vast areas of the Russian Federation, because we understand that the future of Russia is in the regions," he said.

He assured potential buyers from Russia of the credibility of the companies that the dti had brought to the ITI. He told them that the selection process had ensured that their products were of good quality, that they had export experience and potential.

The Novosibirsk regional administration Minister of Industry, Trade and Entrepreneurship, Nikolay Simonov, said South Africa was known to Russians as a well-developed economy which rated among the first in the world market.

He highlighted that South Africa was known for having abundant agricultural products. "We need additional supplies to expand and meet our goals and hope that the South African products will be competitive in the local market," he added.

Novosibirsk, which is the logistics hub of the Siberian region, has a population of about 2.8 million people and is recorded in the Guinness Book of records as the fastest growing city. It currently imports 5% of its food and agricultural products. Bilateral trade between South Africa and Russia increased by over 46% in 2013.

The increase was largely due to growth in imports from Russia which more than doubled to R3.6 billion caused by a sharp rise in major commodities that include minerals, chemicals and metal products.

Fresh fruits remained the most important export product for South Africa to Russia, and better harvest in early 2013 resulted in a 35% growth in value of exports. Another significant growth was experienced in exports of wine products which grew by 44% in 2013.

The manager of meat exports at Klein Karoo International from Oudtshoorn, Ries Dempsey, said he was happy to have been part of the mission. Ries said the ITI has enabled him to meet potential buyers who showed interest in ostrich meat, which he started to export to Russia recently.

"I am glad to be part of trade missions like this one as they provide opportunities to meet potential customers and also follow up on already existing links and clients," said Dempsey.

He said that he has been able to export to two customers in Russia, whom he met when he participated in the World Food Moscow exhibition in September last year.

ITI_delegates_at_Business_Forum_"We have already supplied 72 tons of ostrich meat to our clients in Moscow since then and we believe that more orders will come through from these customers," said Dempsey. He highlighted the importance of making follow-ups and working hard to ensure the success of leads acquired from the trade missions and exhibitions platforms.

Nicolaas Koegelenburg from Rukou Beverages applauded the DTI for the successful trade mission. He said he had been able to meet relevant people during the ITI and was optimistic about the business prospects stemming from the mission.

He also expressed appreciation for the DTI's efforts to facilitate the entry of products into the market through ensuring compliance with labelling protocol requirements of the Federal Republic of Russia.

"We have identified opportunities in this market and it is important that we grab them as soon as possible. We need government to support us on that and keep us informed of developments," he said.

The Acting Head of Investment Promotion at the DTI, Yunus Hoosen, assured the businesspeople of the efforts to ensure that labelling issues are dealt with to enable more presence of South African products in the Russian market.

"We will get you information that will assist you to comply so that you can start getting your goods in," he added. Hoosen also encouraged the businesses to participate in other platforms like the World Food Moscow exhibition in order to increase their chances of penetrating the market.

The South African delegates who participated in the 6th Investment and Trade Initiative (ITI) to Moscow and Novosibirsk in Russia have expressed satisfaction with the trade mission, said the Department of Trade and Industry.

(Source: SANews/Buziness Africa)



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