The Thai automotive industry has expressed interest in partnering and forming joint ventures with South African companies, says the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).
In a statement on Tuesday, the dti said that the Thailand Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association (TAPMA) has shown interest in partnering and forming joint ventures with their South African counterparts in order to grow the sector in both countries.
A South African business delegation arrived in Thailand for an Outward Selling and Investment Mission (OSIM) that kicked off, on Monday, in Bangkok. OSIM is profiling South Africa as an investment destination of choice.
The business delegation, on Tuesday, embarked on a site visit to the Thai automotive body parts manufacturers, Somboon Advanced Groups Plant and Summit Auto Body Plant, outside Bangkok.
TAPMA President Achana Limpaitoon committed to future collaboration with South African automotive exporters.
She said the Thailand Automotive Industry had gone through years of a challenging struggle but had managed to achieve noticeable successes.
"The industry is now going for higher regional and global competition, and I do hope for more collaboration in future for Thailand and South Africa," she said.
Limpaitoon said she believed this visit would lead to exchange of ideas, transfer of skills and technology that would benefit Thailand and South Africa.
Managing Director of Durban based company Microfinish, Deshan Naidoo, who took part in the site visit, said there were plenty of opportunities for partnerships and joint ventures both in Thailand and South Africa.
"The technology currently used in the Asian market is at an advantage and has improved over the years. This is what we want to take advantage of and learn from our counterparts," said Naidoo, whose company manufactures automotive valve guides and valve seat inserts.
Naidoo added that the partnership will allow them to improve their international competitiveness and give them an opportunity to market their products in other markets.
In his budget Vote, earlier this month, dti Minister Rob Davies said the automotive sector formed part of the key sector identified job drivers in the country. The department has allocated R7.9-billion for capital expenditure through the Automotive Production Development Programme (APDP).
Total trade between Thailand and South Africa was R31.1-billion in 2013; with a trade balance of R22-billion in favour of Thailand.
South African exports to Thailand totalled R4.6-billion, while imports totalled R26.5-billion in the same year. South Africa mainly source special classification products such as vehicle parts which constitute 45% of imports.
The OSIM concludes today.