Pretoria — Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Elizabeth Thabethe says following a decrease in commercial activity between South Africa and Turkey, the two countries should renew efforts to increase trade.
"Trade between South Africa and Turkey decreased from R10.6 billion in 2008 to R5.1 billion in 2009 and further to R4.9 billion in 2010 mainly due to the global economic crisis," she said at a business seminar on Tuesday.
Thabethe is in Turkey on a four-day outward selling and investment mission until Friday. She's visiting the cities of Istanbul and Izmir.
The deputy minister said in spite of the prevailing global economic climate, the two countries should think outside the box to reverse the trend.
"I am hoping that the businesspeople from Turkey and South Africa that are here today will work together to ensure that this trend is not only arrested, but it is actually reversed by taking advantage of the myriad trade and investment opportunities available in both countries."
The two countries had similar characteristics with an advantage in terms of their location.
"South Africa is located as the gateway to the African Continent, with Turkey in the Middle East neighbouring various European Union states. This is one advantage that should be used maximally by our businesspeople.
"Surely, there is certainly greater room to grow the volume of a two-way trade and investment between South Africa and Turkey," Thabethe said.
The deputy minister is accompanied by a business delegation comprising representatives in the energy, mining, jewellery, infrastructure, clothing and information and communication technology sectors, among others.
These sectors, said Thabethe, were among those that would contribute towards an increase of bilateral trade, investment, tourism, science and technology and industrial cooperation between the two countries.
Turkish Deputy Minister of Economy, Mustafa Sever, said South Africa was one of the world's success stories and was beaming with opportunities that Turkish businesspeople could explore in partnership with their South African counterparts.
In October during the South Africa-Turkey Business Forum, which was held in South Africa, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said the two countries played pivotal role in the development trajectory of the globe.
"The two powerful nations that are critical to the development of the world should be trading more with each other and should be investing more in each other," said Patel.
South Africa and Turkey are both members of the G20.