About 600 U.S. companies trade in South Africa, creating more than 120,000 jobs there, according to a report in The New Age.
In 2011, South Africa’s total trade with the U.S. exceeded $13 billion, with South Africa enjoying a trade surplus of around $1.8 billion – a 14.4 percent increase over the previous year, the report said.
South Africa was the U.S.’s biggest market in Africa, accounting for $7.3 billion in exports.
“The U.S. is a major economic partner for South Africa and continues to feature high on the list of trade and investment partners,” International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told reporters Tuesday in Pretoria. “It is a major export market for South African products and an important source of foreign direct investment.”
Relations between South Africa and the U.S. are solid, strong and positive, Nkoana-Mashabane said, describing an ever-increasing solidarity.
“We have seen significant expansion of trade ties and investment links between our respective countries,” she said in the The New Age report.
President Barack Obama is expected to arrive in South Africa Friday for an official visit as part of his three-nation African tour.
Not all South Africans are celebrating the visit. The Muslim Lawyers’ Association in South Africa has called for Obama’s arrest on war crime and genocide charges, believing he ordered the deaths of suspects overseas, according to a report in Business Standard.
The association is one of 15 organizations forming the “NO-Bama Coalition” that plans protests of Obama’s visit. The coalition includes the Congress of South African Trade Unions, student associations, ruling African National Congress tripartite alliance partners and the South African Communist Party., the report says.
The South African government says allowing the protests will show the level of freedom of expression in South Africa, the Business Standard report says.