Cape Town — Bilateral trade between South Africa and its Brics partners grew substantially last year - powered by significant increases in trade and exports between the country and China and India, the Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies revealed today.
In a parliamentary reply in response to a question from the opposition on trade between South Africa and its Brics partners, Davies said bilateral trade between South Africa and China last year grew by 32%, with India by 25% and with Brazil by 20%.
Bilateral trade between South Africa and Russia last year also recovered, after a decline of 44% in 2010, but is still below the R4.2 billion in bilateral trade recorded in 2008 between these two countries.
Bilateral trade with China last year totaled R188 billion, with India R55 billion, with Brazil R18 billion and with Russia R3.8 billion.
The recovery in bilateral trade between South Africa and its Brics partners, follows on increases in trade in 2010, after declining in 2008 and 2009 during the global economic crisis.
Among Brics members, South African exports to China grew the most, at 46%, while exports to India grew by 20%, to Brazil by 14% and by seven percent to Russia.
Davies said SA exports to China have grown rapidly, after increases of 20% in 2010 and 42% in 2009.
In terms of the balance of trade, South Africa has run a trade surplus with Russia in the last two years of R1.3 billion and R1 billion respectively, after running trade deficits in 2008 and 2009.
While South Africa has continued to run a trade deficit with China over the last four years, that deficit has narrowed by over 50% from R48 billion in 2008 to less than R18 billion in 2011.
South Africa's trade deficit with Brazil also narrowed last year, to R6.1 billion - almost R2.5 billion less than the deficit recorded in 2008.
However, after running trade surpluses with India of R2.5 billion in 2009 and R1.5 billion in 2010, South Africa last year recorded a trade deficit of R4.9 billion with India.
Commenting on inward foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into South Africa, Davies said these had recovered last year to $5.8 billion, about the same level as in 2007 and up from $1.2 billion in 2010, Davies said.
He said South Africa's decline in FDI from $9 billion in 2008, was in line with aggregate figures for G20 countries that show that FDI flows have declined every year since 2007.