South African Import Regulations
South Africa has a diverse and dynamic culture, making it a great partner for trade. However, certain information is necessary in order to move goods across the country.
While South Africa has always had a majority-black population; it was ruled by a minority of white citizens for decades. In 1994, an almost fifty-year-old struggle for equality and cultural independence ended, and democracy was established in this volatile African
nation. Since that time, four successful elections have indicated that the citizens are embracing the change. Still, negative consequences remain evident among the 50 million citizens, including social struggles such as poverty, crime, high HIV infection rates and unemployment. There is also an on-going struggle to fairly handle land disputes created by the apartheid regimes of the past.
Despite the challenges, South Africa is considered to be the largest economic force in the region. South Africa has strong manufacturing and mining industries, though both have seen negative effects of recession. However, construction sectors have actually experienced growth, largely in response to international attention to the 2010 World Cup. South Africa both produces and consumes vast amounts of energy, and the nation is also a mecca for tourism, with vast natural resources and beautiful landscapes. South Africa is a strong producer of wine, sugar, fruit, livestock, corn and sunflower seeds.
South Africa prohibits some types of products from importation entirely. This list of prohibited goods includes pornography, illicit narcotic drugs, uncooked meat products, ammunition, dry ice, plants and seeds, bees and bee products, furniture, fur, uncut diamonds and unrefined gold.
Other products fall into the restricted category and can include shipments that include:
- and money.
Special circumstances also apply to:
- food products,
- used clothing,
- skin-care items
- and petroleum products.
Any shipment should be accompanied by documentation, including a statement of the contents of the package, insurance documents and the actual value of the included products; completing this paperwork is the responsibility of the importer. If permits are required for any shipments, they are issued by the South African Department of Trade via the Director of Import and Export Control. Individual governing agencies include the Departments of Health, Agriculture, Water Affairs, Sea Fisheries, Trade and Industry, and Mineral and Energy Affairs. More detailed information is available via the South African Revenue Service
South Africa has special trade agreements with several partnering countries, though the United Kingdom is not expressly included in this list. However, South Africa does have an active trade agreement with the European Union
, of which Britain is a member country; this may offer distinct benefits when sending a shipment from the United Kingdom to South Africa. Other countries that are specifically included, such as , Swaziland
and Mozambique benefit from reduced or non-existent duties and taxes.
Shipments that are sent to South African residents as gifts may be eligible for a duty exemption or rebate. If the package contains alcohol, perfume or tobacco products, this rebate will not apply. Otherwise, two shipments per year can be sent as gifts, providing that the value does not exceed the allowed amount.