New Delhi, May 22:
South Africa will grant visas to Indian businessmen wishing to explore prospects in the country within four days of submitting an application, its envoy here said Thursday.
“Since South Africa enjoys a cordial relationship with India, and its companies are expanding their businesses in South Africa, the decision to grant visa facilities has been taken to further cement business ties between both countries,” South African High Commissioner France Morule said at a PHD Chamber of Commerce meeting.
“India’s relations with South Africa have flourished over the years. The bilateral trade between India and South Africa has grown substantially from $7.5 billion in 2008-09 to $11.15 billion in 2013-14,” Morule said, according to a statement from the industry forum.
India ranks amongst the top 10 trading partners of South Africa and is now the country’s fifth largest export destination and sixth largest source of imports, he added.
India’s investments in South Africa are estimated at around $6 billion, and are expected to rise to $7 billion in the coming years.
Minister Counsellor (Economic) in the South African High Commission Stefanus Botes said he was hopeful that with new governments in place both in South Africa and India, negotiations would progress on the India-SACU Preferential Trade Agreement, talks on which have been going on for quite some time.
So far, five rounds of negotiations have been held on the PTA.
South African Customs Union (SACU) comprises of South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana and Namibia.
India and South Africa are also engaged in various multilateral fora such as IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa), G-20, and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and have a common approach on many global issues.