Rules of Origin


What's New?


The SADC-EPA group (Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland) and the EU have reached the final stages towards the implementation of the SADC–EU Economic Partnership Agreement. These include fulfilment of ratification processes by the SADC-EPA countries while the European Union (EU) required approval for provisional application of the Agreement. All the SACU member states have deposited their instruments of ratification of the Agreement and the EU has notified provisional application of the Agreement.

The Agreement has provisionally entered into force between SACU member states and the EU on 10 October 2016 for all provisions of the Agreement, except for the new agriculture market access that requires an exchange of letters between the EU and South Africa (SA) to confirm the protection of each other’s Geographical Indications names (GIs). It is expected that the new agricultural market access will enter into force on 01 November 2016.

For SA and the EU, the SADC-EPA will replace the trade chapter in the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA).

SARS will administer the SADC-EPA once the legislation has been approved and published in the Government Gazette, and will be applied with retrospective effect to 10 October 2016. The customs and excise rules to give effect to the SADC-EPA will be published in the Government Gazette on 12 October 2016.

The following arrangements for the smooth transition from the TDCA to the SADC-EPA have been made:
  • Traders registered under the TDCA will continue to trade under the SADC-EPA, and are not required to complete a new DA 185 for registration.
  • Existing Approved Exporters and their Authorisation Numbers issued under the TDCA will continue to enjoy the same benefits under the SADC-EPA.
  • Blank EUR.1 Movement certificates issued under the TDCA may be used for purposes of the SADC-EPA.

For additional information, email

What are Rules of Origin?

Rules of origin are the criteria that are used to define where a product was made. They are an essential part of international trade rules because of policies that “discriminate” between exporting countries.
The origin of a product is used to determine the import duty payable and whether it is subject to an antidumping or countervailing duty. It is also used for the compilation of trade statistics and for “Made in …” Labels.
In other words, the origin of a product is important because it will determine how it is treated at the border of an importing country and the origin may impact on the import duty payable and admissibility into the country.
In addition, rules of origin may also determine whether goods are entitled to the payment of less or no Import duties. For this reason, there is a distinction between non-preferential and preferential rules of origin.
The non-preferential rules are applied for “Most-favoured Nation” (MFN) trade purposes (i.e. where goods are subject to the general rates of duty) and the preferential rules of origin are applied in the case of Free Trade Agreements and other preferential duty schemes (e.g. agreements where countries have agreed to eliminate or reduce import duties on goods produced in each other’s territories).
South Africa has signed a number of trade agreements with its trading partners in the past few years, including the TDCA, SADC and EFTA trade agreements. More information on these and other trade agreements can be found under Trade Agreements.

Apart from trade agreements, South Africa also benefits from other international instruments or agreements, such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the different Generalized Systems of Preferences (GSPs), of which you will find more information under Other International Agreements. 

To see the recent changes to the GSP introduced 1 January 2014, click here.


Last Updated: 12/10/2016 4:15 PM     print this page
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 Top FAQs

AGOA - What proof of origin must be submitted by an importer in the USA for goods exported from South Africa under the AGOA arrangement? Would a Form A be issued for such exports?
Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Customs in South Africa only issue visas for clothing and textiles.For this purpose Customs will include the visa stamp on the invoice which is then presented to the US Customs

Origin - Are there any user guides available on rules of origin?
The following documents pertaining to matters of preferential origin is available on the SARS website Guide to understanding preferential origin.

Origin - Do all products have an origin?
It is a requirement of Section 39 that importers and exporters must submit a Customs declarations for goods imported or exported in the prescribed form and providing the particulars as indicated thereon.

Origin - How does Preferential Duty work?
Preferential duties are in essence a means between parties to promote trade with each other in products originating in their respective countries.

Origin - How would an importer go about to claim a preferential rate of Customs duty on goods imported under a trade agreement?
On importation of goods importers will declare goods in compliance with origin criteria at the preferential rate of Customs duty provided in Schedule 1 instead of the general rate which is applied to non-preferential trade.