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SA, Russia talk trade
Pretoria – Ways to boost trade will be top of the agenda as South Africa and Russia meet for their 13th session of the Joint Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) today.

The session will be co-chaired by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, Sergey Donskoy, in Moscow.

“The main objective of the 13th ITEC session is to take stock of what has been achieved so far under this structured bilateral economic cooperation mechanism between these two strategic partner countries and to further deliberate on other possible areas of cooperation,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said on Thursday.

While in Moscow, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane is also expected to hold bilateral talks with her counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.

The ITEC serves as a framework for economic and trade relations between the two countries. It focuses on trade, investment and banking; mineral resources; energy; transport; agriculture, forestry and fisheries; water resources; education; justice and constitutional development; business and tourism.

The ITEC takes place within the ambit of the bilateral agreement that was signed in 1999 to give impetus to the political commitment between the two countries to broaden and deepen their relations.

These engagements are further guided by the Treaty of Friendship and Partnership signed in September 2006, as well as by the Declaration of Strategic Partnership signed in March 2013 in Durban, South Africa.

South Africa and Russia’s relations are good, with more impetus being given to this relationship through ITEC and at the multilateral level through BRICS and other multilateral fora.

South African exports increased from R1.4 billion in 2009 to R3.9 billion in 2014.

Total imports from Russia reduced to R768 million in 2010 from a peak of R3.5 billion in 2009 and recovered to R4.9 billion in 2014.

There has been substantial growth in total trade between the two countries from 2009 to 2013 (from R3.6 billion to R7 billion). –

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