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Relations with China mutually beneficial: senior S.African official

By Ndumiso Mlilo (Xinhua)

16:42, May 17, 2013

JOHANNESBURG, May 17 (Xinhua) -- The relationship between South Africa and China are mutually beneficial, a South African official said Thursday.

"We have a special and a strategic partnership with China," said South African Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Ebrahim Ebrahim in a speech at the University of the Witwatersrand.

"The relationship between South Africa and China is constantly being reviewed and renegotiated to suit both parties," the deputy minister added.

China is currently South Africa's biggest trading partner, with total bilateral trade standing at 201 billion rand (about 22 billion U.S.dollars) in 2012.

In recent years, South African tourism has improved because of an increased number of Chinese tourists, which was viewed as a result of the cordial relations between the two countries and the BRICS membership.

BRICS is an acronym for the grouping of the world's leading emerging market economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

"Africa is growing because of its trade with China. In business, you should deal with the person who gives you the best," the deputy minister added.

Bilateral trade between China and South Africa is expected to rise by 20 percent this year.

"Very soon, South Africa will partner other African countries and China to develop the poor infrastructure in Africa," Ebrahim said.

During the fifth BRICS summit in South Africa in March 2013, BRICS leaders engaged African leaders on how to improve relations between Africa and BRICS countries.

Ebrahim praised BRICS countries for the cooperation in promoting the reform of the international organizations like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the United Nations.

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