On 26 March the South African Revenue Service (SARS) announced a change to its “External Policy on the Administration of Trade Agreements” through the postponement of the implementation of paragraph 2.3(c)(i)(A)(I) by extending the grace period until 31 May. This will allow clients some time to prepare for the requirements when applying for export certificates at the Customs Branch Office nearest to the exporter’s, manufacturer’s or producer’s area of business.
According to the “Summary of Main Points” of the Policy:
(a) Rules of origin are used to protect the local market by:
(i) Enforcing non-preferential rules of origin;
(ii) Facilitating trade between countries when entering into preferential trade agreements; and
(iii) Imposing export and import quotas.
(b) The trade agreements have origin rules that must be complied with before a client can claim a preferential rate of duty. The rules of origin for each trade agreement differ, however the basic principles remain the same and must be used by any person determining the county of origin.
(c) Importers and exporters must register for a specific trade arrangement for which certification is required with Customs as described in SC-CF-19 before any of the origin benefits can be applied.
(d) Leveraged Legal Products (Tax, Customs & Excise): Rules of Origin and Trade Agreements, Head Office (ROO) may in writing determine the country of origin on exported goods. The export must apply on SC-RO-02-A01 for an origin determination.
(e) The client must produce proof of origin in the form of a certificate of origin to Customs for processing and/or verification, if requested. In the case of AGOA the proof of origin is a visa.
(f) The exporter must apply on SC-RO-02-A02 for blank export certificates of origin. The Rules to the specific trade agreement provide detailed information on the completion of the certificate of origin.
(g) Some trade agreements enable the exporter to submit an origin declaration instead of a certificate of origin. The exporter must apply to be an Approved Exporter as described in SC-CF-19. An origin declaration must be given by the exporter on an invoice which describes the products concerned in
sufficient detail to enable them to be identified.
(h) On reasonable doubt Customs may allow goods to be released conditionally, pending the outcome of a verification.
The External Policy is available on request.
Story by: Riaan de Lange