On 15 May the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) published its 23-page “Request for Comments from Interested Parties on Guidelines and Conditions Relating to the Extension of Safeguard Measures” on which comment is due by 15 June.
The purpose of the document is to provide a reference and procedural guide for applications for an extension of safeguard measures in terms of Amended Safeguard Regulation.
The scope of this document covers the application process for an extension of safeguard measures in terms of Amended Safeguard Regulation, which provides that a definitive measure may be extended by a period of up to six years where Itac finds that: (a) The lapse of the safeguard measure imposed in terms of subsection 6 is likely to lead to the recurrence of serious injury; and that (b) there is evidence that the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) industry is adjusting.
The extension of a safeguard measure envisaged in the regulations is that Itac shall provide representatives of countries that have a substantial interest in a general safeguard investigation 30 days for consultations prior to the application or extension of a definitive safeguard measure with a view to, inter alia, (a) reviewing the information relating to (i) evidence of serious injury or threat thereof caused by increased imports; (ii) the precise description of the product involved; (iii) the proposed measure; (iv) the proposed date of introduction; (v) the expected duration of the measure; and (vi) the timetable for progressive liberalisation; (b) exchanging views on the measure; and (c) discussing ways to maintain a substantially equivalent level of concessions and other obligations vis-à-vis that country.
As a reminder, a safeguard measure can be introduced to protect a domestic industry against, not necessarily unfair, but nevertheless overwhelming foreign competition. The measures can be introduced against an unforeseen surge in imports that threatens to or causes serious injury to a domestic industry. Safeguard measures are temporary measures with timelines to allow a domestic industry to adjust and improve its competitiveness.