8 February 2005
South Africa and Australia have agreed to consolidate and extend their co-operation in a number of areas, including trade and sport.
This commitment was made by Deputy Foreign Minister Sue van der Merwe and her Australian counterpart, Bruce Billson, after talks at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Monday.
According to Foreign Affairs officials, the two discussed a number of issues of mutual interest, including trade and sport, ahead of Wednesday’s friendly football match between the two countries at Absa Stadium in Durban.
Although South Africa and Australia are fierce rivals in cricket, rugby, swimming and soccer, the two countries enjoy sound trade relations, valued at about R11.4-billion.
Australia is South Africa’s third-largest trading partner in Asia, after Japan and China.
Australia is also a big investor in South Africa; the merger in the 1990s of Australian BHP Billiton and Gencor created the largest mining company in the world.
“We share common values and a common history, and our two countries will continue to work together with that as a base”, said Billson, who is Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade.