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IMPORT EXPORT PROCEDURES

FAQ's about business regulations and procedures in South Africa to help you get going...


1. How do I obtain tariff information?

Duties, excise taxes and import surcharges levied on goods can be obtained from the South African Foreign Trade Organisation (SAFTO), P.O. Box 782706, Sandton 2146, South Africa - Tel: (011) 883-3737 Fax: (011) 883-6569 or the South African Embassy in Abu Dhabi. Since South Africa’s tariff schedule is organised by Harmonised System (HS) numbers, an international trade classification scheme, these organisations will only provide duties if it is supplied with the appropriate HS number for the product. To obtain HS numbers, please call the Commercial Attache at the South African Embassy in your country.

2. What are South Africa’s import tariffs?
South Africa’s import tariffs generally range from 0-45% with some exception. South Africa adheres to the Harmonised Tariff System, and tariffs and import surcharges are assessed on the customs value (f.o.b.).

3. Are other taxes assessed on imports?
South Africa levies an import surcharge which is on the customs value (f.o.b.) of selected products. Surcharge rates are as follows:
0% - agricultural products and implements, capital and intermediate goods, manufacturing inputs, essential foods.
15% - aircraft, vehicles, earthmoving equipment, computer software, appliances, etc.
40% - luxury consumer goods, for example, televisions, tape recorders, video machines, antiques, jewellery, etc.

4. Is an import permit required for my product?
Some goods entering South Africa require import permits - like used equipment, consumer goods (foodstuffs, clothing, fabrics, footwear, and books), wood, paper products, motor and aviation fuels, refined petroleum products and other industrial products, and materials imported as original equipment for the manufacture of motor vehicles.

5. Do I need a Certificate of Origin to export my product to
    South Africa?

The South African Declaration (or certificate) of Origin, Form DA-59, certifying the country of origin, description of goods, weight, etc.., is required for shipments of stainless steel tableware, kitchen items or other household articles, and mugs and cups of a diameter not exceeding 70 mm; iron or steel except stainless steel, not enamelled; motor vehicle air filters, motorcycle oil or petrol filters, and parts for motor vehicle filters; and reception apparatus for radio telephone or radio broadcasting apparatus. South African Customs will notify the importer if a Form DA-59 is required and the importer will notify the exporter. When the form is required, exporters or suppliers must provide at least one original signed copy attached to the original commercial invoice. A chamber of commerce certification or a customs stamp are not required.

6. Are other basic documents required?
Basic documents required for shipments to South Africa include:
1) A commercial invoice which shows the price charged to the importer in addition to the cost of placing goods on board ship for export;
2) Bill of Lading;
3) insurance documents; and
4) Packing list.
Other special documentation may be required by the importer. At least three copies of the invoice should go forward under separate cover to the consignee prior to the arrival of the goods.

7. Where can I obtain more detailed economic and commercial
     information?

Additional economic and commercial information on South Africa can be obtained from the South African Foreign Trade Organisation (SAFTO), P.O. Box 782706, Sandton 2146, South Africa - Tel: (011) 883-3737 Fax: (011) 883-6569 which is a dedicated organisation that provides commercial, marketing, economic, and contact information needed to do business in South Africa.

8. Do I need a local agent in South Africa to import my
    product?

An agent is highly recommended, but not required. South Africa offers foreign suppliers a wide variety of methods to distribute and sell their products. These include using an agent or distributor; selling through established wholesalers or dealers; selling directly to department stores or other retailers; or establishing a branch or subsidiary with its own sales force. When appointing a South African distributor, exporters should take care to find out if the distributor handles a competing product. Some exporters have been approached by major South African corporations whose holding companies market products which compete directly with the their products.

9. Who is the Senior Commercial Officer (SCO) in South Africa?
The Senior Commercial Officer is Mr. Daniel Harris, who is located in Johannesburg (Tel: 27-11-331-3937)

10. Who should I contact if I want to import from South Africa?
Contact the Embassy of South Africa in your respective country >>> Economic/Commercial Section.

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