Fruit South Africa and the ASSOCIAZIONE ITALIANA COMMERCIO ESTERO (AICE) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote mutual trade and investment opportunities in the fresh fruit sectors between South Africa and Italy. AICE is a non-profit entrepreneurial association, established in Milan – with over 70 years’ experience working to promote business relations between Italy and the rest of the world.

AICE represents Italian companies that are predominantly committed to commercial activities abroad such as: trading, export, import, countertrade, buying-offices, export management as well as services activities related to small and medium enterprises.

More than 50% of all agricultural exports from South Africa is fresh fruit and major export destinations include the EU, UK, Far East, Russia, Middle East, USA/Canada. The fruit industry contributes significantly to the South African economy with an annual turnover of more than R30 billion composed of exports, national (local) sales of fresh produce, fruit supplied for processing and fruit supplied for drying.

The scope of the MoU includes, the exchange of information on general economic status, trade policies and regulation, legislative changes of respective countries to promote and strengthen bilateral trade, technological and industrial cooperation between Italy and South Africa in the fresh fruit sector.

Other areas of cooperation will involve the parties informing each other of all activities that have the potential to further promote trade and investment opportunities between the two countries in the fruit sector; promoting bilateral trade and economic relations as well as encourage; mobilize and assist in the development of mutually beneficial joint ventures and investment opportunities between business people of the respective countries and organisations.

Mr Anton Rabe, Fruit SA Chairman, signed the Memorandum of Understanding, on behalf of Fruit SA.

He said that Fruit SA will continue to build and formalise relationships with like-minded organisations internationally in order to improve the trade opportunities of its membership base. Such initiatives will include in-country representatives in a number of targeted countries in order to facilitate and improve engagement with public and private stakeholders in such countries.

As part of its long-term strategy the South African fruit industry is looking at growing its footprint and exploring new markets globally while retaining and optimizing on the current markets.