20 Jul 2021 13:02

Partnership in metallurgy, agriculture, subsoil use to improve trade turnover between Russia, S. Africa - natural resources minister

MOSCOW. July 20 (Interfax) - Partnership in metallurgy, agriculture, and subsoil use will help to improve trade turnover between Russia and South Africa, Russian Natural Resources and Environment Minister Alexander Kozlov said during a meeting of the intergovernmental committee for trade and economic cooperation of the two countries.

Kozlov noted a number of positive aspects of cooperation between Russia and South Africa: in the pharmaceutical industry, railroad rolling stock manufacturing, information and communication technologies, as well as in the energy sphere and exports of several types of Russian products to South Africa.

"At the same time, for objective reasons, we see the absence of a positive trend in some areas. Mutual trade turnover reduced 11.5% last year, and the presidents of our countries also noted that the volume of the two countries' trade turnover isn't meeting its potential," he said.

According to Kozlov, there are a number of ways to solve this problem: "The first is to eliminate barriers. For example, of the joint venture of Renova Group and its South African partners United Manganese of Kalahari (UMK) for developing manganese ore deposits. To support this important project, I ask the South African side to provide assistance in the approval by the competent authorities of South Africa of changes to the issued complex ecological permit for the project, as well as in the subsequent coordination of the license for water use," he said.

The issue of introducing a special preferential energy tariff for the metal industry has also yet to be resolved. Transalloys approached South Africa's Electricity Supply Commission (ESCOM) with this request. If this issue is not resolved, this could jeopardize the existence of current production, Kozlov said.

It addition, he suggested new points of cooperation, for example in veterinary and phytosanitary oversight for exporting meat products from Russia to South Africa, which would improve relations in the agriculture sector.

"Dialog in the sphere of geology and subsoil use - in the framework of the program for cooperation in exploration, development, processing, and enrichment of minerals until 2025 - will make it possible to achieve effective interaction. It is also necessary to develop interbank cooperation, cooperation of the financial regulators in the sphere of information security - more actively expand and strengthen the contractual legal framework," Kozlov said.