Trade between the UAE and South Africa rose to more than US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) last year, a more than 20 per cent increase from 2009, as demand for goods and services rebounded after the global financial crisis.
A delegation including representatives of several companies and the UAE Government is in South Africa this week to build trade ties with the country as well as the wider southern Africa region.
"South Africa offers enormous export potential for UAE manufacturers, particularly small and medium enterprises looking for lucrative export destinations for locally produced goods and services," said Mohammed Hamdan, the Ministry of Foreign Trade's director of trade promotion. "In addition, we are also looking forward to encouraging South African investors to take advantage of investment opportunities being offered in the UAE, especially through specialised economic zones that cater to a diverse range of industries."
Representatives of more than 30 UAE government departments, free zones and private businesses visited Johannesburg to take part in the Big Seven Exhibition.
The Ministry of Foreign Trade is increasing the number of emerging markets it is focusing on to help small businesses tap new trade opportunities. It will focus on promoting UAE companies in mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Malaysia in the fourth quarter.
The value of trade between the UAE and South Africa expanded by 21.7 per cent last year to more than $1bn from $878.3 million the previous year.
UAE exports to South Africa reached $92.4m last year, with imports valued at $899.6m.
The Big Seven expo also promotes South Africa as a gateway for imports into the rest of the southern African market. Exports from the UAE to the region doubled from $483m in 2009 to $986m last year.
Representatives from the private sector attending the event included Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries (Julphar), General Holding Corporation, Palletco, Pure Ice Cream, Diamond Meat Processing, Falcon Express Packaging Factory, Dubai Refreshments, DoFreeze and Integrated Plastics Packaging.