“There’s business to business interactions as well which they will be having. We’d like to move towards a stronger and more structured relationship, one that doesn’t just meet from time to time in forums but which actually has an on-going set of structural relationships,” said Davies.
Davies said the EU-SA summit, to be hosted in Pretoria, will present an opportunity for South African Business Organisations to develop a structured relationship to strengthen strategic relations between the two trading partners. A number of European companies and business investors are expected to attend the summit.
“There are many matters that we can convey to them particularly around the investment opportunities that there are in South Africa and the African continent. We want to address any concerns or issues that they may have as well,” he added.
Davies said the business forum also needs to reach an agreement on the level of offer that the country will make in return for the improved market access. He it’s crucial to get a clear understanding of what the country is going to benefit in return for services rendered.
“Nothing at the moment that is of commercial significance in South Africa but we think there’s a very big move on our side and we need to get adequate recognition of that as part of the balance,” noted Davies.
“There are the trade related policy matters which were the big barriers in the past, we’ve seen a welcomed flexibility in the part of the EU but we haven’t put details on the actual formulations at this point in time so the negotiations are making progress, they continue to make progress and can continue to make progress.”
According to the EU key issues to be discussed include the SA-EU strategic partnership, key peace and security topics in Africa and beyond, global governance, climate change, trade, development issues, and the relations between Africa and Europe as a whole, as set down in the joint Africa-EU strategy.
The sixth session of the SA-EU summit will be graced EU Presidents of the Council and Commission, Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso, respectively.
President Jacob Zuma is expected to represent South Africa.