Events

South Africa eyeing Singapore as market and gateway to Asia

13:57 SGT October 19, 2017
South
Annual event highlighted the flourishing F&B trade between South Africa and Singapore.

With an eye on Singapore both as an important market and a gateway to other Asian markets for South African F&B products, the South African High Commission organized a one-day Outward Selling and Investment Seminar Expo on August 24 this year at the Hotel Grand Pacific in Singapore.

Nineteen South African companies participated in the event, which was attended by more than 80 Singaporean importers, exporters and investors.

“This is an annual event by the High Commission, and we will try to grow the event every year,” said Sean Pike, Chargé d’Affaires, High Commission of the Republic of South Africa.

“South Africa sees Singapore not only as an important market in itself, but also as a gateway to ASEAN and Asia. During the official visit by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in October 2016, we were informed that Singapore also sees South Africa as a strategic country for food imports.”

South Africa meat proteins are very popular in Asia, especially beef and pork in China, where price and quality are very important, Pike revealed.

“Meat products are trade leaders with many ASEAN and Asian countries. Fish, abalone and so forth are also very important,” he said.

And while South African pork exporters cannot send pork products yet to Singapore, their regional presence and the fact that Singapore re-exports its imports was an important draw card for the visit, Pike added.

Prior to the event, the South African participants were briefed on the Singaporean market which many of the participants found very useful.

“They made good contacts and, when the products are cleared in the

future, it is expected that this trade will take off,” he said.

The South African meat exporters also visited and had meetings with local supermarket chains Cold Storage, Mustafa Centre and MyHalalHub. Pike said these were important for the meat exporters, as most of them are halal-certified.

Aside from meat products, South Africa also has fruits and vegetables for export.

Pike said: “South Africa is known for its fresh fruit, dried fruit and vegetable products, and the counter-seasonality attracts many importers. Its spices and teas are globally respected, with oils and vinegars starting to achieve global recognition. In addition, South African wines and other fruit juices are globally renowned, and highly sought-after products.

“South African products are quality-competitive and price-competitive, with comparable food safety standards.”

According to the High Commission, South African trade with Singapore, especially in the F&B sector, has been increasing over time. “It is no surprise that South Africa exports more F&B products to Singapore than it imports, but imports from Singapore are not insignificant,” Pike said.

Aside from exhibiting F&B products from South African manufacturers, the event also hosted a seminar featuring speakers from South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF), and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA).

Nineteen South African companies participated in the event, which was attended by more than 80 Singaporean importers, exporters and investors.

Kenneth Malatsi from the DTI briefed participants on trade and investment opportunities in South Africa, where the most important issues from the discussions were the various processes to do with food imports and exports. On the other hand, SMF’s Sunny Koh spoke about the various experiences of Singaporean companies in the region, and provided important and sage advice to participants.

Prior to the event, the South African participants were briefed by Imran Moola, managing director, Phoenix Marketing, on the Singaporean market which many of the participants found very useful.

“At least two of the companies have concluded large-scale contracts with importers, and we expect to see many more high-quality South African products on the shelves,” Pike revealed. “Many of the South African and Singaporean participants were pleased to be able to engage face-to-face, and the tasting of the various products was enjoyed by the visitors.”

In addition, the event promoted the upcoming Africa-ASEAN Business Expo that will be held at Sandton Convention Centre, South Africa, this November 6-11. Pike said the expo will bring together companies from both regions in the first-ever Africa- ASEAN business engagement.

“Many participants [of the investment seminar expo] were excited about the Africa-ASEAN Business Expo,” said Pike. “This will drive trade for both regions into the future.”

For more information on the Africa- ASEAN Business Expo, visit www. aabexpo.com.