The Southeast Asian country of Vietnam may export cement to South Africa (SA) in the coming time, cooling the African country’s thirst for the construction material, foreign media reported.
A deal with the Vietnamese government on the issue is being discussed during South African President Thabo Mbeki’s visit, May 23-25.
“You walk around and see cement everywhere being sold on the streets of Vietnam. It shows that they’ve got a bit of excess capacity. South Africa’s got this big infrastructure development program, with a shortage of cement and the short term trade is for South Africa to import cement from Vietnam,” said Louis Selekane, CEO of the SA Diamond Board.
Mbeki brings a large business and government delegation to Vietnam, hoping to bolster trade between the two countries.
“What is important for us is to look at our competitive advantage and see where our economy can supply the needs of Vietnam and where the Southeast Asian nation can meet some of the needs of our economy,” said Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, SA’s foreign affairs minister.
Two-way trade between Vietnam and South Africa reached $250m in 2005, up 66.67% against 2004.
The two countries intend to waive visa requirements to boost tourism on both sides.
Vietnam will become ASEAN’s largest cement producer by 2010. The country is expected to have a 10-12 million ton cement surplus in 2010-2012.