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Six Southern African Development Community (SADC) Member States, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland (the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and Mozambique signed a historic Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) on 10 June 2016.

This is the first time that South Africa has signed an agreement as part of a SADC group of countries. For the purposes of this agreement the group of SADC Countries will be known as the SADC EPA States.

The agreement is also a victory because it is the first agreement eliminating the possibility for the EU to use agricultural export subsidies.

The EPA contains a large number of safeguards which EPA countries can activate in the case of EU imports that threatens to disrupt domestic production in the EPA States.

The EU-SADC Economic Partnership (EPA) is an agreement that:

·         is oriented towards development;

·         supports the economic diversification in SADC EPA States;

·         promotes democracy and sustainable development;

·         strengthens regional integration in Southern Africa; and

·         benefits the SADC EPA States and the EU.

Visit the EU website for more information. There are downloads with more information about the agreement and the legal text and annexes of the agreement. I have also prepared a document about the impact of the agreement for importers and exporters in South Africa which can be accessed by clicking the following linkhttp://www.jacobsens.co.za/News/TopicsofInterest.aspx.


Customs Tariff Applications and Outstanding Tariff Amendments


Customs Tariff Amendments

With the exception of certain parts of Schedule No. 1, such as Schedule No. 1 Part 2 (excise duties), Schedule No. 1 Part 3 (environmental levies), Schedule No. 1 Part 5 (fuel and road accident fund levies), the other parts of the tariff is amended by SARS based on recommendations made by ITAC resulting from the investigations relating to Customs Tariff Applications received by them. The ITAC then investigates and makes recommendations to the Minister of Trade and Industry, who requests the Minister of Finance to amend the Tariff in line with the ITAC’s recommendations. SARS is responsible for drafting the notices to amend the tariff, as well as for arranging for the publication of the notices in Government Gazettes.

During the annual budget speech by the Minister of Finance in February, it was determined that parts of the tariff that are not amended resulting from ITAC recommendations, must be amended through proposals that are tabled by the Minister of Finance.

Once a year, big tariff amendments are published by SARS, which is in line with the commitments of South Africa and SACU under international trade agreements.

Under these amendments, which are either published in November or early in December, the import duties on goods are reduced under South Africa’s international trade commitments under existing trade agreements.

There was one amendment to the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Common External Tariff (CET) i.e., the HS-based Customs Tariff of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland.

Part 1 of Schedule No. 2 is replaced entirely by the insertion of rebate items listed in Schedule No. 3 and 4 in the column headed “Rebate Items” which will be subject to the payment of anti-dumping as recommended in ITAC Minute M10/2015.

This amendment is as a result of a recommendation of ITAC that rebates on anti-dumping duties may only be claimed on goods in Schedule No. 2 Part 1 which qualify for rebate items 307.04/3920.4/01.05, 315.12/3920.4/01.05, 460.03/0207.14.9/01.07 and 460.07/3920.49/02.06 for which application have been made to ITAC.  

The amendments to the Common External Tariff of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) were published inGovernment Gazette No. 40076 dated 17 June 2016 under Notice No. R. 728.

The loose-leaf pages reflecting the amendments will be sent to subscribers under cover of Jacobsens Supplement 1075. For more information about these amendments see the subscribers notice to Supplement 1075 or view the Customs Watch.


Customs Rule Amendments

The Customs and Excise Act is amended by the Minister of Finance. Certain provisions of the Act are supported by Customs and Excise Rules, which are prescribed by the Commission of SARS. These provisions are numbered in accordance with the sections of the Act. The rules are more user-friendly than the Act, and help to define provisions which would otherwise be unclear and difficult to interpret.

Forms are also prescribed by rule, and are published in the Schedule to the Rules.

The latest Customs Rule amendment (DAR/158) was published on 6 May 2016 in Government Gazette 39976 under Notice No. R. 509. The amendment relates to the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union Protocol of Trade.