- 1 February 2024 – Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement
The AfCFTA is a free-trade area, outlined in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. The AfCFTA is the largest in the world in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organisation.
On 31 January 2024, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition launched the implementation of the start of preferential trade by South Africa.
For more information, see the letter to Trade.
- 2 October 2023 – Calculation of national currencies for the trade agreements:
3 August 2023 – Gradual implementation of the 13 blocks SADC Certificate of Origin (SCO) and transitional arrangements for the smooth phasing-out of the 12 blocks SCO
You will recall that in the past SARS has been issuing and certifying both 12 and 13 blocks SCO for goods destined within SADC Countries. In 2020 SARS requested the SADC members states to gradually phase-out the 12 blocks SCO in compliance with the record of the decisions of the 28th meeting of the Ministers of Trade that was taken in 2016, Gaborone, Botswana.
The transition from the 12 to 13 blocks SCO took a considerable period due to excess stock. Now that SARS and Traders have limited stock of the 12 blocks SCO, it is now an opportune time to transition to the 13 blocks SCO in compliance with the 28th Ministerial decision.
20 July 2023 – System enhancements for the administration and interpretation of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and Mozambique (SACUM) and the United Kingdom (UK) (SACUM-UK) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)
Until the 31 December 2020, goods exported from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) member states and from Mozambique to the United Kingdom (UK) were covered by the Southern African Development Community-European Union Economic Partnership Agreement (the SADC-EU EPA).
As from the 01 January 2021 such goods were traded under the SACUM-UK EPA. The SACUM-UK EPA was negotiated and concluded while the UK was a member of the European Union (EU).
- 14 November 2022 – Calculation of national currencies
- 5 May 2022 – Customs and Excise Branch Contact details for Rules of Origin queries and general information
11 November 2021 – Update and state of play of the AfCFTA
Preferential trade under the AfCFTA is not yet possible as the tariff schedules required are still being negotiated. Once an agreement is reached on the tariff schedules, they will be appended to Annex 1 to the AfCFTA for adoption by the AU Submit. See the letter to Trade.
- 11 October 2021 – Calculation of national currencies for the various trade agreements
- 14 April 2021 – Implementation of paragraph 2.3(c)(A)(i) of the External Policy – Administration of Trade Agreements
- 12 March 2021 – AfCFTA registration process
- 9 October 2020 – Calculation of national currencies
- 14 April 2020 – Application of Origin proof requirement during the COVID-19 crisis under the SADC-EU-EPA
South Africa and the European Commission has relaxed the requirement to insist on the presentation or submission of original certificates of origin to prove the originating status of goods at the time of clearance. Instead, copies or electronic versions of proof of origin will be accepted in an attempt to curb the spread of the COVID-19. In South Africa, the relaxation of the rules is subject to the submission of the original certificates within 12 months after being issued in the European Union (EU). While Article 26 to Protocol I of the SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) requires the submission of an original proof of origin within ten (10) months, SARS will honour or accept copies or electronic versions of certificates of origin while awaiting the submission of the original versions within twelve (12) months after being issued in the EU.
- 22 November 2019 – Circulars of the National currencies for the SADC EPA and SACU EFTA Trade Agreements
- 17 April 2019 – Implementation of the Registered Exporter System (REX System) for the certification of goods exported under the Norwegian Generalized System of Preference (GSP)
- 23 May 2018 – Implementation of the Registered Exporter System (REX) for the certification of goods exported under the Norwegian Generalized System of Preference (GSP)
- 22 May 2018 – Electronic Data Exchange (EDI) submission of vouchers of correction and declaration of determination numbers and proofs of origin for refund purposes
- 01 December 2017 – Letter to external stakeholders – Calculation of national currencies for the SADC-EU-Economic Partnership Agreement
- 18 September 2017 – Letter to external stakeholders – Approved Exporter status in terms of the SADC-EU EPA and SACU-EFTA Trade agreements.
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, EFTA, SADC EPA and SACU MERCUSOR trade agreements. More information on these and other trade agreements can be found under Trade Agreements and Schedule 10.
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.
For additional information, email [email protected].