CAPE TOWN, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- South African businesses are keeping their eyes on the upcoming China International Import Expo (CIIE) to be held in Shanghai on Nov. 5-10, hoping to grab trade deals.
As the maiden import expo held by China, the event is expected to strengthen business ties, open China's market wider and garner support for free trade.
As the first import-themed state-level expo in the world, the CIIE will also include supply and demand matchmaking meetings and seminars designed to ensure that participants make the most of networking opportunities on offer.
More than 40 organizations will make up the South African delegation to the expo. As one of the 12 "Guest of Honor" countries for the event, South Africa has a dedicated national pavilion at the expo.
Sandile Ndlovu, Executive Director of the South African Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Export Council, said he would be representing his organization as part of the delegation from the South African Department of Trade and Industry at the expo.
"We are going to Shanghai to represent more than 89 of our members who are able to export a range of products (to China)," he told Xinhua in an interview.
"China could be one of our biggest customers as there is so much potential for trade with China," he said.
Ndlovu said his organization has already started interactions with Chinese counterparts on the possibility of the Chinese public and private sectors procuring goods from South Africa.
He said the council is also co-developing products with some of its members for the Chinese market. The council groups businesses and entities that design and manufacture aircrafts and aircraft components, vessels and armored vehicles for both commercial and defence purposes.
"As South Africans we are capable of supplying products of high quality technology," Ndlovu added.
He said that the past recent years have seen a notable increase in exports from South Africa to China.
"I'm optimistic that further opportunities for trade and cooperation exist," Ndlovu said.
At the moment, the council has three members supplying the Chinese market but there are definitely more opportunities, he said.
"We have no doubt that if we get the platform to showcase our offerings, the Chinese market will receive us very warmly," Ndlovu said.
Ndlovu's sense of optimism is shared by Reesh Naidoo, Public Relations and Business Development Director at AmstedReelin, which provides service and products to the mining, engineering, industrial and agricultural sectors.
The Shanghai expo will be an initial opportunity for AmstedReelin to approach the Chinese market and create awareness that the company is in Africa and fully capable and willing to supply products and services to both private and public sectors in China, Naidoo told Xinhua.
"We are grateful for the opportunity to learn and understand the business culture of another country," said Naidoo.
He expressed belief that participating in this expo will unlock potential for AmstedReelin to support Chinese companies as they enter the various African markets which they have shown a keen interest in.
"We attend the event in good faith," Naidoo stressed.
In 2007, the Reelin Group entered into a joint venture agreement with Amsted Rail Incorporated for the supply of rail road products. Amsted Rail is the world's leading rail road undercarriage component manufacturer in the world.