Calcutta, Jan. 15: India’s decision to restrict gold import has slightly impacted bilateral trade with South Africa.
“The trade has been affected slightly,” South Africa’s High Commissioner to India France K. Morule today said but expressed the hope that it would improve soon.
“Gold has come to have its own complexities. There are times when its demand ebbs and rises again. There will always be demand for gold. Gold is important but there are other minerals important in our trade, too,” Morule said.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a session organised by the Bharat Chamber of Commerce.
South Africa is the second-largest producer of gold and is a major exporter of the yellow metal.
Morule expressed hope that trade would improve with the negotiations for a preferential pact between the two countries nearing a conclusion.
Bilateral trade target has been set at $16 billion for 2013-14, a growth over $13.99 billion in 2012-13.
South Africa has sought partnerships with local companies engaged in infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, green industries, tourism and mining and mineral beneficiation.
A delegation will soon arrive in Bengal to explore partnerships in coal, energy and power. A similar delegation had earlier visited Chennai.
Morule said the preferential trade pact would ensure concessions for South African goods, which were being taxed differently across Indian states and acted as a disincentive.
“Our focus now is Bengal. Energy sector is among our priorities. We want to explore as many sectors as possible. Our highest trade partner is the US and the EU. Our relations with Asia is just beginning to flourish,” he said.