Deputy Minister Marius Fransman To Undertake A Two-Nation Official Visit To Europe

25 Nov 2013 10:05am

SAPA PR--DEPUTY MINISTER MARIUS FRANSMAN TO UNDERTAKE A TWO-NATION OFFICIAL VISIT TO EUROPE ISSUED BY: DIRCO ATTENTION: NEWS EDITORS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 25 NOVEMBER 2013 DEPUTY MINISTER MARIUS FRANSMAN TO UNDERTAKE A TWO-NATION OFFICIAL VISIT TO EUROPE The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Marius Fransman, will undertake an official visit to Switzerland and Norway. In Switzerland, Deputy Minister Fransman will co-chair the 5th Annual Switzerland-South Africa High Level Consultations (HLC) with his Swiss counterpart, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mr Yves Rossier, on 25-26 November 2013 in Fribourg. The 5th HLC will discuss ways and measures to enhance excellent bilateral political andeconomic relations in support of South Africa's national priorities, South Africa's foreign policy objectives with regards to the African Agenda and an exchange of views on issues in the multilateral fora that are of concern to both countries. The HLC consists of four Working Groups, namely the Foreign Policy Working Group, Economic Development, Trade and Financial Issues Working Group, Development Cooperation Working Group, as well as the Science and Technology Working Group. The Deputy Minister will therefore be accompanied by representatives from other government departments as part of his delegation in this regard. Since the establishment of the HLC, many bilateral engagements have taken place as stipulated in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that established the HLC mechanism. These include the signing of the Scientific Cooperation Agreement, the establishment of the Joint Economic Committee and the Agreement on the Support for Energy Efficiency Monitoring and Implementation Project. Bilateral economic relations between the two countries are also on a sound footing. Switzerland is a major investor in South Africa, with more than 200 Swiss companies here employing around 36,000 South Africans. The number of Swiss tourists to South Africa is growing phenomenally and increased in 2012 by almost 28% accounting for 51,807 visitors. While still in Europe, Deputy Minister Fransman will also co-chair the inaugural High Level Consultations with his Norwegian counterpart State Secretary Bard Glad Pedersen, on Thursday, 28 November 2013 in Oslo. The structured High Level Consultations is an indication of both countries' desire to create a new path that will further consolidate the relations between the two countries in a wide variety of areas. The structured High Level Consultations cover the areas of international relations and human rights, trade and investment, renewable energy, education and skills development, and science and technology. In this regard, a Declaration of Intent will also be signed to formalise the structured High Level Consultations. In 2012, exports to Norway from South Africa amounted to R 2,4 billion with imports fromNorway to South Africa amounting to R860 million, thus recording a trade balance in SouthAfrica's favour. There has been an increase of Norwegian travellers to South Africa for the past years, and South Africa was visited by 23 156 Norwegian tourists in 2012. For further information please contact Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO on 082 884 5974 ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION 460 Soutpansberg Road Rietondale Pretoria 0084 Ends /LN