UPDATE 1-Yellen lauds Ford’s 100-year historical past in South Africa, flags extra investments

(Provides shade, quote from ambassador)

By Andrea Shalal

SILVERTON, South Africa, Jan 26 (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday lauded the Ford Motor Co’s 100-year historical past of assembling autos in South Africa and underscored Washington’s resolve to develop commerce ties with international locations that it “can depend on,” together with South Africa.

Yellen spoke after touring Ford’s plant in Silverton, a suburb of Pretoria, the place she acquired behind the wheel of shiny yellow new Ranger pickup truck and spoke with staff and firm officers. That is the third leg of her three-country journey throughout the African continent that’s geared toward increasing U.S. financial ties and countering China’s affect on the continent.

The plant, which employs 4,000 folks, is an instance of how deeper ties between the USA and Africa might produce good jobs and increase financial development for each side, Yellen advised staff and firm officers.

“Africa will form the way forward for the worldwide financial system,” she stated. “We all know {that a} thriving Africa is within the curiosity of the USA. A thriving Africa means a bigger marketplace for our items and companies. It means extra funding alternatives for our companies.”

About 600 U.S. corporations function in South Africa, using about 220,000 folks and producing income equal to about 10% of South Africa’s total gross home product, U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Reuben Brigety stated on the occasion.

Ford, a significant U.S. investor in South Africa, is investing $1 billion to develop output on the plant there by 20%, including 1,200 new jobs, and goals to develop a freight rail hyperlink with a seaport 700 miles (1,126.54 km) away.

Yellen stated different U.S. corporations, together with Cisco, Normal Electrical, and Visa additionally deliberate massive investments, attracted by increasing markets fueled by a demographic increase that can see Africa account for 1 / 4 of the world’s inhabitants by 2050.

The U.S. Treasury chief stated South Africa had been the largest beneficiary of the African Development and Alternative Act, which grants eligible Sub-Saharan international locations duty-free entry to the U.S. market, however didn’t spell out what would occur when the laws expires in 2025.

Yellen stated South Africa additionally had a task to play in U.S. efforts to shift provide chains away from over-reliance on China and different non-market economies to extra like-minded international locations, an strategy she has dubbed “friendshoring.”

As in her feedback to South Africa’s finance minister earlier on Thursday, Yellen didn’t handle South Africa’s refusal to take sides over Russia’s conflict in Ukraine or Washington’s concern over navy workout routines it plans with China and Russia.

The large financial disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s conflict in opposition to Ukraine underscored the necessity for resilient provide chains, she stated.

“We’re addressing the over-concentration of the manufacturing of vital items in sure markets — notably these that won’t share our financial values,” Yellen stated. “To take action, we’re deepening financial integration with the various international locations that we will depend on. That features our many trusted buying and selling companions on this continent — like South Africa.” (Reporting by Andrea Shalal Enhancing by Tomasz Janowski)

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