South Africa and Poland signed an economic cooperation agreement aimed at increasing two-way trade and investment during Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk's visit to the country on Thursday.
The agreement was signed in Pretoria by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Polish Undersecretary of State Beata Stelmach.
The agreement cover sectors including mining and mineral exploration, carbon enrichment, oil and gas, construction, transport and infrastructure.
Davies said a joint economic commission would be set up within the ambit of the agreement "to explore areas of economic cooperation which provide and promote maximum opportunities in trade and investment development".
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, addressing a Poland-South Africa business forum in Midrand, north of Johannesburg on Thursday, said he hoped the joint commission would provide Polish and South African business leaders with enabling conditions to improve trade between the two countries.
According to Motlanthe, while trade between South Africa and Poland has grown steadily over the last six years, the current trade volumes do not reflect the true potential and goodwill that exist between the two countries.
There were still significant trade and investment opportunities which South Africa and Polish businesses could exploit, he added.
"We believe maritime is one of the sectors that present a potential for greater economic co-operation. There are opportunities for joint investment, technical co-operation and institutional partnerships especially in shipping, ports and logistics, marine manufacturing and ship repairs."
Motlanthe also opportunities also existed in mining, machinery building, metallurgy, science and technology and food processing.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk told the forum that South Africa was Poland's biggest trading partner in Africa and that the two countries hd a lot in common, including a rich history, a love for democracy and a commitment to human rights.
"The time has come for us to get down to serious work to ensure that together we are able to overcome the challenges that face us," Tusk said. "I hope that this mutual relationship will strengthen cooperation between us and contribute further to the economic growth of our countries."
Also on Thursday, memorandums of understanding were signed between Trade and Investment South Africa and the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency, and between the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa and the Industrial Development Agency of Poland.