Kautilya Academy 21-07-2020
The discussions between India and the South African Customs Union (South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho) have been revived to achieve a Preferential Trade Agreement. The two sides had a virtual meeting last week to discuss the various aspects of PTA.
The Indian side of the dialogue was led by the Joint Secretary of Department of Commerce, Srikar Reddy while South African Customs Union side was led by Executive Director of Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development, Namibia, Steve Katjiuanjo.
India has been committed to and supporting the manufacturing and industry in Namibia in areas such as irrigation, agriculture, ICT, renewables, pharma, and medical supplies. Both sides reviewed the progress and discussed steps to move forward on PTA.
India’s economic engagement with South Africa:
Srikar Reddy highlighted India’s historically close ties with South Africa and the country’s steadfast commitment to deepen the economic engagement with this region.
He added that in 2019-20, the trade between India and Africa stood at $66.7 billion, out of which India-SACU trade was $10.9 billion which has an immense potential to expand further.
Steve Katjiuanjo called India as a strategic partner for the South African Customs Union (SACU). He added that the trade is currently in SACU’s favor which shows that the region is benefitting from access to the vast Indian market.
While speaking at the revival occasion, the High Commissioner of India to Namibia, Prashant Aggarwal mentioned in the current times of COVID-19 pandemic including its economic challenges, economies of the South African region, including Namibia, could majorly benefit by the enhanced trade and commercial links with India’s $2.9 trillion economies.
India-Namibia Bilateral Trade: Background
In 2018-2019, India-Namibia bilateral trade was $135.92 million where India’s export values at $82.37 million and imports stood at $53.55 million.
The mining sector has been an area of mutual interest as Namibia is rich in Uranium, copper, diamonds, phosphates, and other minerals. While, Indian Technological Prowess in engineering, IT, railways, pharmaceuticals, and SME’s has been of interest to Namibia.
Bilateral cooperation between both the regions in the agricultural and energy sectors also has good aspects.
Exports from India to South Africa include vehicles and components, drugs and pharmaceuticals, transport equipment, footwear, chemical, engineering goods, textiles, rice, dyes and intermediaries, gems and jewelry, etc.
Imports from South Africa to India include steam coal, gold, phosphoric acid, copper ores, and concentrates, manganese ores, aluminum ingots, and other minerals.