Speaking during the debate on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament, the minister said to return the economy to pre-Covid 19 economic growth, her government has created a significant footprint in Asian markets as part of this strategy.
“We will identify new opportunities and expand those that have benefit for South Africa,” Pandor said.
She added: “In pursuit of this objective, South Africa has created a significant footprint in Asia, which is the continent showing the most promise of a speedy return to pre-Covid-19 levels of economic growth.”
The minister noted that last year Pretoria acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in order to take up significant trade and development opportunities available in the Asian region.
The 45-year-old treaty, originally limited to five Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, was now open to dozens of other states outside the ASEAN region.
“We will also benefit from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership of these countries,” the minister said.
“This partnership created the world’s biggest trading bloc, estimated to account for about US$26 trillion or 30% of global GDP, and 28% of global trade,” Pandor added.
South Africa would leverage engagement with the ASEAN to enhance mutually beneficial trade, investment and tourism ties, and to support skills development and training for South Africans, she said.
During the SONA, Ramaphosa said his government had intensified efforts to stimulate growth, and was working tirelessly to raise South Africa’s global visibility by “promoting the country as the best place to be, to do business, to visit, to work, to study and to live.”