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Cablegate: China Now South Africa's Largest Export Market

VZCZCXRO2805
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSA #2012 2790909
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 060909Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9774
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHOR/AMEMBASSY GABORONE 5551
RUEHMR/AMEMBASSY MASERU 2913
RUEHMB/AMEMBASSY MBABANE 4586
RUEHWD/AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK 5048
RUCPDC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS PRETORIA 002012

SIPDIS

USTR FOR BILL JACKSON; COMMERCE FOR JED DIEMOND

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EFIN EIND ETRD SF
SUBJECT: CHINA NOW SOUTH AFRICA'S LARGEST EXPORT MARKET

1. (U) Summary. China was South Africa's largest export
market in the first half of 2009, according to the South
African Revenue Service. End Summary.

2. (U) China has become South Africa's largest export
market and biggest trading partner. Total bilateral trade
between China and South Africa reached R61.9 billion ($8
billion) between January and July 2009, according to the
South African Revenue Service. Total trade with the U.S. was
only R42.1 billion ($5 billion) during the same period.
South Africa imports appliances, clothing, footwear, and
plastic products from China. Iron ore, gold, copper, chrome,
wine, timber, and paper pulp are South Africa's primary
exports to China. The data below is from the South African
Revenue Service.

South African Imports (Billions of Rands):
US China Total Imports
Jan - June 2009 (Rand) 23.2 35.2 27.1
Jan - June 2008 (Rand) 25.6 36.2 34.2

South African Exports (Billions of Rands):
US China Total Imports
Jan - June 2009 (Rand) 18.8 26.4 253.8
Jan - June 2008 (Rand) 32.1 17.5 303.7

3. (U) Chinese Ambassador Zhong Jianhua told leading
financial newspaper Business Day that the warm relationship
between the two countries was matched by growing economic
engagement that put South Africa among China's top three
African trading partners.

4. (U) Comment: Exports to the U.S. have plummeted since
the onset of the global financial crisis, causing the U.S. to
lose its place as South Africa's number one export market.
While the China market has remained comparatively robust,
Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies recently remarked
that trade with China is structurally imbalanced because
South Africa exports commodities while China supplies
value-added manufactured goods. Davies noted that Chinese
officials agreed to negotiate to rectify the imbalance. End
Comment.
LA LIME

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