The 14th session of the South African-Russian Joint Inter-Governmental Committee on Trade and Economic Co-operation (ITEC) will be held here Friday with International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Russia’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Sergey Donskoy, leading the respective delegations tol review progress made in bilateral trade relations.

“The 14th ITEC session will review progress made since the last session and is expected to agree on specific plans of action to expedite implementation of existing commitments within all the sectors of ITEC,” the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco) said in a statement here Wednesday.

Areas of discussion include trade, investment and banking; mineral resources; energy; agriculture, forestry and fisheries; transport; science, technology and space; water resources, and education and justice, the department added.

The ITEC framework also includes the South Africa-Russia Business Council, which brings together private sector representatives from both countries in various sectors to discuss ways of accelerating bilateral trade and investment opportunities.

The Business Council will meet here Thursday and its conclusions will be included in the final ITEC outcome document.

“South Africa will continue to promote its key priorities in the ITEC discussions, which include domestic, regional and global issues such as education and skills development, especially in nuclear science, physics and mathematics; technology transfer; mineral resource beneficiation; diversification of structure of trade to high value-added products; and tourism cooperation,” the department said.

It is expected that the mainstreaming of Africa’s regional economic integration priorities and the BRICS objectives will also form part of discussions.

The ITEC Agreement was signed in 1999 by the two governments to support and enhance co-operation. The ITEC has proven to be an effective instrument in contributing directly to improved two-way trade and investment, as well as critical skills development and technology exchanges, Dirco added.