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Wichita aviation businesses explore South Africa trade opportunities

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, June 9, 2014, at 6:48 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, June 9, 2014, at 7:36 p.m.

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Some of Wichita’s aviation businesses spent Monday afternoon learning about trade opportunities with South Africa.

“It’s big in opportunities that exist,” Donnadelliah Maluleke, a trade commissioner with the South African Consulate General in Chicago, said in a presentation about the country.

Maluleke and Vuyiswa Tulelo, the consul general, gave presentations and held roundtable discussions and one-on-one meetings with business representatives attending.

The visit was hosted by Kansas Global Trade Services, a nonprofit trade advisory firm. It was held at the Wichita State University Metropolitan Complex.

“South Africa is one of the best markets for Kansas products, including aviation,” said Karyn Page, president and CEO of Kansas Global Trade Services. “South Africa, we consider a friendly nation. They’re easy to do business with.”

John Potts, corporate administrator for RedGuard, a Wichita company that makes blast-resistant buildings and portable storage containers, attended to explore new business possibilities.

“We’re opening the doors and looking for any new opportunity we can find,” he said.

RedGuard does business on a worldwide basis, Potts said. It currently has relationships with some companies in South Africa.

“We’re investigating what our opportunities are,” he said. “We want to further the relationships.”

Brian Middleton, president of D&O Engineering Co., came to explore opportunities as well.

“I want to see if there’s a company from South Africa that I could sell for,” Middleton said. “There are good people who sell airplane parts. Could we sell those in the Midwest?”

Specifically, the South African delegates came to promote the Africa Aerospace & Defence trade, exhibition and airshow, which will be held Sept. 17-21 in South Africa.

Maluleke and Tulelo are working to recruit five Wichita aviation companies to attend the show, which is held every other year. Expenses will be paid for representatives from the five companies to attend.

Those selected to attend the show will also attend meetings with others in the aviation, defense and aviation research industries there.

A second roundtable discussion is planned to address general business opportunities in South Africa. It’s scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday in the First Floor Boardroom of City Hall at 455 N. Main. Businesses are welcome to attend. The cost is $10.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.

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