NEW YORK -- South African food and beverage manufacturers are among a varied group of companies expected to participate in a South African trade exposition here later this month.
d services -- including agricultural, domestic appliances, industrial equipment and textiles, in addition to food and beverages -- are expected to exhibit at the trade show.
The Department of Trade and Industry and the South African Foreign Trade Organization are sponsoring and organizing the exposition, which is called, "South Africa and the USA: Strengthening the Link."
It is the Republic of South Africa's largest-ever trade initiative with the United States, officials said.
"The newly elected government has recognized the need to build long-lasting trade relations with the U.S., historically one of South Africa's most important trading partners," Harry Schwarz, South African ambassador to the United States, said in a statement announcing the trade expo. "This trade initiative is aimed at rebuilding the critical relationship with the U.S. after years of economic isolation and sanctions."
South Africa already is the third-largest exporter from sub-Saharan Africa to the United States, with exports valued at more than $2 billion. It trails only the oil-producing nations of Nigeria and Angola, according to South African trade reports.
Schwarz also spoke at a recent trade and investment seminar that was set up to encourage U.S. businesses to increase their investment activities in South Africa. He said U.S. investors and businesses need to look at South Africa as a land of opportunity.
"Until now there has been a concentration of attention in the U.S.A. on the problems of the people of South Africa," he said. "First, it was the need to do away with apartheid and to have a universal franchise election. This has been achieved."
A second concern, the plight of South Africa's underprivileged masses, is being addressed by the new government's Recon-struction and Development Plan, Schwarz said.
A delegation of South African business leaders visited the United States in late June to help Schwarz promote the planned trade conference. Among the representatives in the delegation was Joe Stauch, consul general of South Africa in New York.
Stauch, in a speech here, said South Africa already has "lots of things in place" that expanding companies require, including modern banking and infrastructure. "We are not an emerging market," he said. "We are a re-emerging market."
Later in June, after the South African delegation visited five U.S. cities, Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, was among the first U.S. companies to announce its return to South Africa. Coke said it would spend an undisclosed amount to buy National Beverage Services, a South African company that has provided assistance to Coca-Cola bottlers in South Africa. The deal would mark Coke's return to South Africa after an absence of more than seven years. Coke divested its South African assets because of anti-apartheid economic sanctions against the nation in the mid-1980s, but it continued to sell its syrup to South African-based bottlers. As a result, Coke's market share in South Africa is currently about 75%.