Foreign investment, if targeted and nurtured, can drive economic growth and in turn contribute to much-needed job creation and economic inclusion for all, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.
The Minister was addressing the South African Investment Seminar on the margins of the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.
The purpose of the investment seminar, which was organised jointly by the dti and China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products, was to expand on the investment opportunities that exist in South Africa, with a particular focus on the manufacturing sector.
Davies told Chinese investors that South Africa's investment pitch is based on "active improvement of the investment climate, active solving of any problem that investors may have, active presentation of the opportunities that exist, and building partnerships with investors".
Davies indicated that the country's investment climate is also improving.
"We have made inroads to improving our investment environment. We have been working diligently towards ensuring policy certainty and consistency, improving the performance of State-owned enterprises and consolidating fiscal debt.
"South Africa is energised and government, together with its social partners, business, labour and civil society, are moving towards an inclusive economic growth path. The work of government, business, labour and civil society is progressing well," the Minister said.
Currently, there are 58 Chinese companies that have invested in South Africa, with a capital expenditure of R69.4 billion between January 2003 and January 2018. These investments are mainly in the automotive, electronics, metals, building and construction and financial services sector.
China's first major investment took place in October 2007 when China's largest bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), purchased a 20% stake in Standard Bank. The majority State-owned ICBC paid cash for the stake, estimated at R36.7 billion.
However, over the period, the trade surplus is in favour of China, the Davies said.
The trade deficit is due to the imbalances in the composition of trade between the two countries, where South Africa continues to export primary products and commodities to China, and import manufactured and high-tech products from China.
Davies said events such as the China International Import Expo will create opportunities to address the imbalance.
"Exhibitions like the China International Import Expo give us an advantage in that we can display products, goods and services that we can supply the Chinese market. We look forward and hope that our exhibitors will be able to find a way to enhance the relationship with procurers from China."
The Minister is leading a delegation of 27 South African organisations, including provincial investment agencies, Special Economic Zones, export councils and private companies.
South Africa is participating in the three main platforms of the expo, namely the Country Pavilion for Trade and Investment, Enterprise and Business, as well as the International Fair Trade Forum.
The dti said these platforms will promote South Africa's trade and investment capabilities.