Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma is to lead a government delegation to the 5th South Africa-European Union (SA-EU) Summit, scheduled to take place in Brussels, Belgium on Tuesday.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation said on Monday that the summit was expected to build on the positive progress that had been made since a similar meeting was held in South Africa last year.
Issues to be discussed include progress on the implementation of the SA-EU strategic partnerships; the on-going negotiations on SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs); the upcoming climate change conference COP18, assessment of the Rio+20 Conference held in Brazil in June; peace and security issues in Africa and the Middle East and the G20.
The gathering was preceded by the inaugural SA-EU Business Forum, which is being held in Brussels today. Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and the EU’s Commissioner of Trade, Karel De Gucht are expected to address the forum.
On Tuesday, Zuma will deliver a keynote address at the SA-EU Science and Technology Cooperation seminar. It aims at celebrating 15 years of science and technology cooperation between South Africa and the EU.
“The EU is very important to South Africa. It remains South Africa’s largest trading partner, largest investor and largest donor of development assistance,” said the department.
The two-way trade between South Africa and the EU has continued to grow, making the EU as a single customs territory, South Africa’s largest trading partner. In 2001 the EU accounted for 26% of the value of South Africa’s trade flows. In 2011 South Africa exported to the EU goods worth R152 billion and imported R223 billion, giving the EU a trade surplus with South Africa of R71 billion. – SAnews.gov.za