CHINESE President Xi Jinping arrived in SA on Wednesday for talks with President Jacob Zuma that are expected to focus on flagging investment and trade worth around $20 billion dollars a year.
A SA cabinet minister said that bilateral deals were expected to be agreed during Wednesday’s meeting between Xi and Zuma, and the government issued a statement saying that the trade imbalance was one of the issues to be discussed.
Trade between South Africa and China more than doubled in the four years to 2013 to R271 billion, the SA statistics office said.
This is after Jinping said had pledged that his country is committed to wildlife protection and will provide Zimbabwe with more assistance for preserving the vital component of the natural ecosystem.
Beijing has been cracking down on illegal trade of wild animals and animal products, including ivory, and has scored remarked progress, he said, adding that China has also been enhancing public awareness and has witnessed an increasing number of people and organizations joining the cause.
“China has earnestly fulfilled the international obligations and actively participated in international cooperation in wildlife protection,” Xi said during his trip to Zim adding that China will continue to help Zim improve its capability in this regard by donating equipment and conducting exchanges of experience.
Over recent years, China has intensified efforts in wildlife protection, including a harsh clampdown against illegal wildlife trafficking. In October, Chinese authorities announced a one-year ban on imports of African ivory acquired as hunting trophies.
The ban followed a similar measure enacted in February against imports of African ivory carvings acquired after the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) took effect in 1975. In May, China publicly destroyed 662 kg of confiscated ivory.
During Xi’s landmark state visit to the United States in September, the two countries committed themselves to nearly complete bans on ivory import and export, including significant restrictions on ivory hunting trophies, and regulations aimed at halting domestic commercial trade of ivory.
Xi arrived in Harare Tuesday for the first state visit to the wildlife-rich African country by a Chinese president since 1996. During his talks with his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe, the two sides charted the course for the future development of bilateral ties and pledged to translate their time-honored friendship into fresh impetus for win-win cooperation and common development.
The two presidents also witnessed the signing of a series of cooperation deals, including one on wildlife protection.
Zimbabwe is the second leg of Xi’s ongoing three-nation tour, which has taken him to the opening ceremony of a highly anticipated UN climate change conference in Paris. He will also pay a state visit to SA and attend a summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Johannesburg.
In SA the Chinese president will co-chair the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation this week, with several African heads of state expected to attend, and the summit discussions are seen centring on whether China will extend new loans despite its slowing economy, while African states may push for debt moratoriums and technology transfers.
China is Africa’s largest trading partner with trade amounting to $US220 billion in 2014, according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua. Its investments in Africa amounted to $US32.4 billion at the end of 2014, according to London-based BMI Research.
But China’s direct investment in Africa has fallen roughly 40 percent in the first half of 2015 to $US1.19 billion, China’s commerce ministry said on November 17.
Africans broadly see China as a healthy counterbalance to Western influence, though Western governments accuse China of turning a blind eye to conflicts and rights abuses as they pursue trade and aid policies there. – Reuters