Argus' attempt to discredit trade mission rejected – Office of WCape Premier

R540 000 cost of a two week trade and investment mission to two countries can't be labelled as excessive spending

Province rejects Argus attempt to discredit trade mission

12 September 2017

The Cape Argus has again sacrificed its credibility for the sake of narrow political agendas, this time with a front page lead claiming an important trade and investment mission to Thailand and Vietnam to be a “junket”.

The Western Cape Government would like to remind the Argus that we are on track to secure in excess of R6 billion worth of investments into the province – almost double last year’s total of R3.8 billion. This is made possible through Wesgro, the province’s Trade, Tourism and Investment Promotion agency.

We reject with contempt the Argus’ attempts to present the R540 000 cost of a two week trade and investment mission to two countries as excessive spending.

Decisions on trade and investment opportunities are taken strategically, in line with our economic objectives. Trade missions are co-ordinated by expert market managers from the Wesgro Trade team, and often conducted in collaboration with the national DTI and its units like Trade Invest Africa (TIA). In this case, we identified Thailand and Vietnam as key markets for Western Cape products and services.

Our research has shown that countries such as Thailand offer high potential and demand for Western Cape products, with significant opportunities in the Halaal market for Western Cape producers. At the same time, Vietnam has one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia. Over the period 2012 to 2016, Western Cape exports to Vietnam grew by 14% per annum and imports grew by 7% in the same period.

Trade missions allow for Cape companies to  directly engage with counterparts in key strategic markets, making it easier  for companies to sign business agreements, which is a process that the Wesgro team facilitates and measures. Our priority will always be to create jobs and grow the economy. Strengthening economic ties and developing new trade routes remains central to that strategy.

The ongoing attempt by the Argus, and Independent newspapers in general, to discredit the DA-led Western Cape Government is evident. The misleading headlines, disingenuous reports and biased reporting – in some cases as the ANC or other opposition’s mouthpiece – do not go unnoticed.

Independent Newspapers has pulled out of the Ombudsman process rendering it unaccountable to any credible structure or body. We will therefore continue to call out the Argus’ unethical and distorted reporting.

Issued by Michael Mpofu, Spokesperson for Premier Helen Zille, Western Cape Province, 12 September 2017