Trade to be Boosted Between the Cape and Columbia

Event Africa Contributor 28/03/2018 Industry News

Wesgro and Bogotá Chamber of Commerce sign MOU to boost trade between the Cape and Columbia.

Cape Town and the Western Cape’s official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency – supported by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), is leading its first Outward Selling Mission (OSM) to Colombia.

The five-day mission to Bogotá commenced on 19 March, with the objective to better understand the broader scope of the Colombian market and identify opportunities and challenges for exports. Funded by the DTI’s Export Marketing and Investment Assistance (EMIA) Scheme, Wesgro’s Trade Unit is accompanied by South African companies operating in the mining, agro-processing, capital equipment and automotive components industry.

Wesgro’s Trade Unit and the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce also signed a Memorandum of Understanding which should see continued growth and strengthened trade ties between the two regions. The MOU seeks to exchange economic information on a regular basis, provide mutual assistance to understand respective markets and policies regarding trade, foster enterprise linkages, improve market access and cooperate jointly in the promotion of seminars, forums and international trade shows.

Recognized as an important high-growth market that shows high export potential for South African products and services, Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris commented: “Our trade team will look to establish contacts with importers, distributors, chambers and business organisations to further assist us in facilitating exports from the Western Cape and strengthen our trade ties with Colombia.”

Harris added “According to our Global Economic Priorities for the Cape 2018/19, Latin America is expected to recover in 2018, with the region projected to grow from 1.9% in 2018 and 2.6% in 2019. Boosting our trading relationship with this region will, therefore, be a worthwhile investment in the next few years.”

The OSM to Colombia is a result of a scoping mission that took place in 2015. DTI Minister Rob Davies, stated: “The technical mission identified an impressive number of business opportunities for South African companies to develop and increase trade between the two countries. Results from the mission recommended emphasis should be on value-added products especially in the mining, industrial and automotive sectors.”

Trade between South Africa and Colombia has grown from R419 million in 2011 to more than R858 million in 2017. The positive growth has largely been attributed to the government’s export-oriented growth strategy and improved security initiatives.