SA, Belgium elevate trade relations as Deputy PM Reynders visits Pretoria

Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders said Belgium supports the land expropriation programme, but the process has to be smooth and balanced.

South Africa and the Kingdom of Belgium today vowed to elevate trade relations, signing a memorandum of understanding on enhanced cooperation between the two countries.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu hosted Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders, who is also minister of foreign affairs and european affairs.

Reynders is on a three-day working visit to South Africa, which ended today.

“This cooperation includes a joint commission on bilateral relations, to hold high-level bilateral engagements to enhanced bilateral cooperation and intensify economic ties between our two countries… We are certain that our bilateral relations with Belgium will continue to grow from strength to strength for the benefit of our peoples,” Sisulu told journalists in Pretoria.

“As South Africa, we enjoy good bilateral relations with Belgium. These relations are based on shared commitment to the values of freedom, democracy and a similar approach to a number of international issues, particularly peace and security. Together we will be occupying a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the period 2019-2020.  We used this meeting to, among other things, deepen our bilateral ties and to enhance continuous cooperation on peace and security issues, particularly those on the agenda of the UNSC.”

She said the two countries’ delegations also exchanged views on issues of mutual interest, such as the fight against racism, human rights, migration, climate and ecological changes, amongst others.

Sisulu said that the main objectives of the meeting was to expand and strengthen bilateral relations between our countries; and to revitalise economic relations with a specific focus on trade, foreign direct investment and tourism.

Reynders said Belgium supports South Africa’s land expropriation programme, but the process has to be smooth and balanced.

The department of international relations said Belgian foreign direct investment into South Africa was worth R10.11 billion in 2017, “creating over 1 000 job opportunities for our people”.

African News Agency (ANA)

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