Wu Bangguo(Standing), chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China, attends the South Africa-China business banquet in Pretoria, South Africa, May 27, 2011. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)
PRETORIA, May 27 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Chinese top legislator Wu Bangguo on Friday called for deeper business cooperation with South Africa while addressing Chinese and South African business communities here.
Wu, chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, the country's top legislature, said deeper business cooperation between China and South Africa not only serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples but also helps strengthen solidarity and cooperation among all developing countries.
"This is the topic that was talked about the most in my discussions with South African leaders. Both sides spoke highly of the progress made in bilateral business cooperation over the past years, and expressed fully the strong desire to raise the quality of the cooperation and bring it to a higher level," he said.
Wu noted that with South Africa becoming a new member of BRICS, there is now a new platform for both countries to deepen their bilateral cooperation. He made three proposals regarding how to deepen China-South Africa business cooperation.
The Chinese top legislator first urged for an enhancement of investment cooperation, saying that in contrast to the rapid expansion of bilateral trade, China-South Africa investment cooperation has lagged behind.
"Over the recent years, our bilateral trade has been expanding rapidly and the results are remarkable. Last year the bilateral trade volume was 25.7 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for one fifth of the total trade between China and Africa. China is now South Africa's largest trading partner and export market, and South Africa China's largest trading partner in Africa."
Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China, addresses the South Africa-China business banquet in Pretoria, South Africa, May 27, 2011. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)
"However, in contrast to the rapid expansion of bilateral trade, our investment cooperation has lagged behind. Although the growth has been relatively fast, the scale is still modest and not commensurate with the economic strength of both countries," he said.
Wu also highlighted the need to expand cooperation areas between the two countries. He said the focus of the next five years for China's economic development is to upgrade traditional manufacturing industry, promote emerging industries of strategic significance, accelerate the development of modern service industry, and develop and harness new and clean energy.
"In South Africa, you are pursuing the 'New Growth Path,' which has identified the priority areas of development for the next 10 years, including infrastructure, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism and service industries."
"Our respective development strategies offer rare opportunities and create plenty of room for both countries to expand the scope of cooperation," Wu said.
Regarding cooperation environment, Wu said there is need for further improvement. In recent years the Chinese side has worked hard to better the environment of China-Africa business cooperation. At the same time, China and South Africa have established several bilateral cooperation mechanisms.
"The two sides need to bring into full play the existing cooperation mechanisms, work in the spirit of mutual respect, equal consultation and mutual accommodation of each other's concerns, and properly handle frictions and disputes so as to ensure the sound development of the bilateral business cooperation, " he said.
Visiting as Speaker of South African National Assembly Max Sisulu's guest, Wu arrived here on Tuesday evening. South Africa is the third leg of Wu's Africa-Asia tour which has already taken him to Namibia and Angola.