On 14 April the South African Revenue Service (Sars) announced that South Africa and the European Commission (EC) had relaxed the requirement insisting 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 Southern African Development Community (SADC) – European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) requires the submission of an original proof of origin within 10 months, Sars will honour or accept copies or electronic versions of certificates of origin while awaiting the submission of the original versions within 12 months after being issued in the EU.
Traders are encouraged to register for the generous Approved Exporter Scheme, within the meaning of Article 25 to Protocol I of the SADC-EU EPA, which allows an Origin Declaration to be presented in the importing country no longer than 2 years after the importation of the products to which it relates.
Story by: Riaan de Lange