Trade delegation lands $1.2 million worth deals in SA

Thursday, 21 November 2002, 08:00 Hrs
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JOHANNESBERG: Deals worth about $1.2 million have resulted from a two-week visit by a 20-member trade delegation from Gujarat that was following up leads in three major South African cities.

"We did excellent business, mainly in gold and diamond jewellery, but also textiles," said Jagat Shah, CEO of Global Network, a Gujarat-based company that specialises in arranging overseas visits for businessmen to initiate contact for mutual investment.

During the first visit in 1999, nearly $1 million dollars worth of investment from South Africa was secured by the Gujarati delegation.

Among major South African companies with which deals were struck during this visit are the national clothing retailer Ackermans; food giant Pick 'n Pay; chain store group Woolworths and fuel and chemicals manufacturer Sasol.

Shah said good business was done in plastic packaging and conveyor belt technology sectors.

"We had a very good meeting with the port authority in Durban. We are developing a port in Gujarat in Dholera, so we wanted a partner from South Africa not only to give some technology know-how, but also to then motivate the coal exporters from South Africa to ship their coal to this new port," he said.

"A three-member team will be coming to Gujarat to study the port and then they will submit a proposal."

Another highlight was that Goldfinch Limited, one of the top 10 companies in India in gold and diamonds, would open a showroom in Durban. They have already identified premises and will be opening a wholesale outlet as well as import rough diamonds from South Africa to India.

Indian firm Injo entered a joint venture with a local South African Indian partner in the field of testing and inspection services, in which very few local companies are currently involved. They will test and inspect for South Africa's chemical and steel industries.

Shah said a "cluster" development programme is to be initiated in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

"This means in each particular geographical area, the same type of industries form a consortium and we create international linkages for these companies. In the proposed South African clusters, the first priority would be that these companies should export to India.

"We are still to study data to determine what sort of products would be made at these clusters that could be exported to India, but we have already identified a partner who will do this programme under the auspices of the U.N. Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), to which Global Network is a consultant for the development of clusters to promote small and medium enterprises."

Shah said a group of four or five people would return in January to begin work on this project.

In Cape Town, the group did excellent business in gold jewellery, both wholesale and retail.

A new conveyor belt technology that has been developed by SB Engineering in India also enthused a local company to pursue a possible joint venture.

"The most interesting thing is that we were planning to mainly export, but we have also been able to do deals to import. South African company Fruitflo have tied up with a company in our delegation to export fruit juice to India."

Shah said although trade deals worth $1.2m was more than the $1 million that the Gujarat delegation had done during its first visit here, the emphasis this time round was on value addition.
Source: IANS
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