24 November 2015
Bilateral talks between South Africa and Italy, with a view to renewing political and economic relations, were held in Rome between the two countries this month.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane, minister of international relations and co- operation, met her Italian counterpart, Paolo Gentiloni, minister of foreign affairs. The two exchanged views on regional and multilateral issues of mutual concern, including enhancing trade and investment, and exploring further areas of co- operation such as the development of small business, infrastructure and the ocean economy, among others.
The two ministers discussed the current European migration crisis, security issues and terrorism. Gentiloni was officially invited to visit South Africa during the course of 2016, said the Department of International Relations and Co-operation.
A memorandum of understanding between the nations was signed in 2003 to establish a framework for regular bilateral consultations at ministerial or deputy ministerial level. Areas of co-operation under the framework included science and technology, police, defence, tourism, arts and culture, and agriculture, among others.
Bilateral trade between Italy and South Africa increased remarkably last year, reaching a six-year high after rising almost R7-billion.
Trade figures are expected to increase following an announcement this year that South Africa was among three countries identified by the Italian government as a potential strategic supplier of products such as raw materials, and semi-finished and intermediate products in metallurgical, steel, alloys and foundries.
South Africa’s exports to Italy are dominated by mineral products, hides and skins, and iron ores; there is scope for increased exports of agricultural products, platinum, titanium and alloys. Imports from Italy consist mainly of machinery, vehicles, electrical and electronic equipment as well as pharmaceutical products.