Yuan-rand exchange mechanisms at advanced stage

GMT 18:28 2015 Tuesday ,14 April

Arab Today, arab today Yuan-rand exchange mechanisms at advanced stage

Chinese yuan
Pretoria - AFP

Preparations for the direct exchange of the Chinese yuan and the South African rand are at an advanced stage, government officials said Tuesday.

"We are at an advanced stage of the currency swap mechanisms," South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said at a joint press conference with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Pretoria.

"We agree on the establishment of the clearing centre for the RMB (yuan), so we can have a direct exchange of the RMB and the rand."

In the past few months China has designated banks in a number of countries to clear transactions in renminbi, or yuan, as it seeks to make it possible for companies and financial institutions abroad to use its currency in cross-border transactions.

China keeps a tight grip on the value of its currency and limits capital flows into and out of the country due to fears they could disrupt the economy, the world's second-largest.

But authorities have moved gradually to liberalise the yuan's movements and allow a more market-oriented exchange rate.

Nkoana-Mashabane said the good relationship South Africa had with China was reflected in their trade relations, which "continued to grow from stength to strength".

China is South Africa's biggest single trading partner.

Trade between the two countries last year totalled nearly $22 billion last year, with South Africa exporting minerals and commodities in exchange for China's machinery, textiles, chemicals and sports apparel.

The trade is heavily skewed in China's favour however, with a $6 billion deficit Nkoana-Mashabane said South Africa was "not complaining about, as long as we keep receiving good investment from China".

Wang said China's partnership with South Africa would always be a "win-win" for both parties.

He said China would focus on accelerating industrialisation in Africa and turn the continent's "advantages and resources into real economic strength".

"It is a shared aspiration of African countries to realise plural development and acceleration of industrialisation," he said.

"We think that China has the capacity and the conditions to offer Africa help in its process of industrialisation."

South Africa has maintained a strong pro-China foreign policy since Zuma became president in 2009.

Last year, a summit of Nobel laureates had to be moved from Cape Town to Rome after the South African government failed to issue a visa to exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, resulting in a boycott from dozens of laureates.

The move was widely regarded as a sign of South Africa's deference to Beijing.

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