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China, South Africa to Consolidate Ties
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President Hu Jintao's visit to South Africa will be a trip about consolidation, said South Africa's ambassador in Beijing.

"Our two countries have put the framework in place," Ndumiso N Ntshinga told China Daily in an interview recently. "The only thing to consolidate is to sit down and study what we have achieved, where we go and how we expand the strategic partnership."

Ntshinga was referring to the coming talks between Hu and his counterpart, South African President Thabo Mbeki. The talks were expected to cover not only bilateral issues, but also international ones such as UN reform and World Trade Organization negotiations.

South Africa is part of Hu's eight-nation trip to Africa, which began last Tuesday three months after November's Beijing Summit of China-Africa Cooperation Forum, during which Chinese and more than 40 African leaders pledged to intensify cooperation on mutual development.

Ntshinga also said he hopes China will play a more prominent and visible role on the world stage.

"In a country with 1.3 billion population, the view of the people is quite important, because government represents citizens," he said.

As for business exchanges, Ntshinga said that on one hand, Chinese products challenge the interests of some people who monopolize certain industries in Africa. On the other hand, more affordable commodities and services offer more options to local people.

"Unlike the past when we got only one arrangement in doing business because of monopoly, now we can pick up the best one among the multi-arrangements," Ntshinga said.

"Whenever there is competition, there will be an exchange of accusations," he said, referring to monopoly owners' worries over and response to newcomers in their markets.

"With the globalization coming up, Africa is not an isolated island," he said.

"Globalization requires us that there could be more vigorous trade within Africa, and between Africa and other continents."

Ntshinga added the increasing business exchanges over the past years between China and South Africa is a result of comparative advantages, wherein one country trades its relatively cheaper goods for other countries' relatively cheaper goods.

"Trade is governed by certain rules that are international," he said, adding that comparative advantages or complementary business exchanges will benefit both sides.

As more South African people are using products from China, the country is also aiming to increase its share in the huge Chinese market.

"We are going to diversify our exports to China," he said. "And we are looking for such market niches, which could be banking, high-tech products, or any area."

Ntshinga noted that currently, most South African exports to China are commodities.
"It means that there is room to expand to non-commodities areas," he said, adding that his country will increase the exports of high value-added products to China.

(China Daily February 7, 2007)

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