09 Sep 2013 13:10
CORRECTION: REPLACING Schlleitwein WITH Schlettwein THROUGHOUT STORY.
By Maggy Thomas
XIAMEN, 09 SEP (NAMPA) The Minister of Trade and Industry has called on Namibian businesspeople to make use of the China International Trade and Investment Fair underway here to find Chinese partners to set up businesses and bring about investment in Namibia.
In an interview with Nampa on Monday, Trade Minister Calle Schlettwein urged the Namibian businesses to focus mainly on the value chain and manufacturing sector.
About 40 Namibians are taking part in the fair.
Focus on manufacturing and the creation of a value chain and investment, instead of concentrating only on the traditional import and export businesses that we have seen mainly from China, he said.
Schlettwein said Namibia's trade balance with China is growing quite significantly, but is still skew.
We are still exporting mainly raw materials such as precious stones and marine products, among others to China.
While we import a whole host of finish goods and consumer articles from that country, we want to balance out the situation and create more favourable balance towards finish goods in both directions, he indicated.
The minister further said global value chains are here to stay, as commodities are no longer manufactured in one country - they are manufactured in many countries.
He added that in many African countries, including Namibia, economies are positioned at the very end of the global chain as they still export raw materials.
We are the producers of raw materials and the consumers of final goods, Schlettwein said, adding that in terms of value addition, Namibia and many other African countries are not participating.
It is very little gain for us to participate in the global value chain if we are not moving at the top of that chain where the value has been added to our products, he stated.
To be on top of the global chain, Schlettwein said, Namibians have to concentrate on manufacturing goods and start exporting finish products.
Our take on the development of the global chain is that we have to find policies, space and right commodities that allow us to industrialise our nation and then participate in the global value chain - not through selling raw materials at the bottom of that chain, but selling finish goods at the top of that chain, he stated.
This year's China Fair for Investment and Trade takes place under the theme 'Introducing Foreign Direct Investment, Global Value Chain and Going Global', and is aimed at facilitating bilateral investment and promotion of inter-nation investment and vale addition.
It ends on Wednesday.