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Import Requirements & Documentations for South Africa

Republic of South Africa offers a wide range of opportunities for foreign exporters as well as for importers. Since it is a large country with a population of around 55 million people, there are millions of products that are in demand. The value of imports in South Africa reached $83.2 billion only in 2017, and the perspectives keep improving!

You must register with SARS to legally import goods to South Africa. Follow the link and visit their website here you will find the online forums to register as an importer. In most instances import permits are issued within five working days. When you complete your registration process you will receive a unique code to use whenever you import goods. This code will be used by SARS to pay attention to your goods and declarations. If you are a beginner, you may select the option irregular importer (refer to the online forum). This allows you to import different goods 3 times per annum. You can always switch to a regular importer when necessary.

After registration you must provide a variety of documents and it differs to the type of products that you import. Considering that fact; the followings are the basic documents you will need,

– Customs Entry document – as part of the South African customs

– Legal Undertaking (LUT) – necessary when obtain import benefits from African government

– Purchase order or Letter of Credit between South Africa importer and overseas supplier of goods

– Bill of Lading – for sea imports or Airway Bill for air imports

– Certificate of Origin – issued by the country of origin of the goods you are importing

– Insurance Certificate – issued by the government, not applicable for all imports

– ATA CARNET – A temporary shipment certificate if needed. It depends on the shipping method that you choose

– Certificate of Free Sale – for goods that are not imported for sales purposes

excluding these documents, you might be required by SARS to provide other necessary documents according to the customs in South Africa specialized on the type of goods you import. Don’t feel pressured if you are not familiar with these terms, because you can get a lawyer to assist you with the heavy lifting in this procedure. by the end of this article, you will find a simpler solution to apply during the import process.

Category : How to import successfully from china


9 Steps To Execute Your Import Plan

The appealing side of importing is, it gives the consumer a chance to purchase a product that is rare or unavailable in the local markets. Also, it is an advantage for the importer because the importer will receive a power of exclusiveness and initially more profit because the product is not available with other retailers. Before you import a product, it is crucial to determine whether a market exists for these products and how the product will fill the void the customers are looking for. Here are 9 Crucial steps to follow.

Step 1 Choose a Supplier

When selecting a supplier Focus on Highest Quality for the Lowest price. In the beginning it is better to make a list of several suppliers and inquire about pricing details, applicable payment terms, and request a sample. Some suppliers provide catalogues therefore you can have an idea about their product line.  If you need help to narrow down the research request assistance from, Foreign embassies, industry or trade associations, and the country’s governmental department of trade. And, internet is a useful resource to find the suppliers and online catalogues. 

One important thing to remember when you are discussing the importation process with a supplier is you should be certain that the payment terms are discussed in relation to ‘incoterms.’ Incoterms are a basis of determining prices in relation to international trade, that will help you avoid future conflicts between you and supplier.

Step 2: Get a broker’s Assistance

If you are new to custom process in south Africa contact a Customs Broker for Assistance. Brokers specialize in handling tariffs, duties, taxes, and valuation therefore your process will be more effective.  A customs broker will speed up the importing process of your selected goods, they can also ensure that all the legal paperwork is done completely therefore you will not face and trouble once the goods arrive.

Step 3: Get Clear About Finances

If you are not clear about the financing process pay a visit to Bank’s International Division. Discuss the opportunities with your bank, you can finalize the financial details of the transaction. Discuss costs and financing options to ensure that the bank will allow for the transactions to be completed. Also, if a payment plan is needed bank will help you figure it out. The goal is to understand the financial aspect of importing and a bank will give you a proper perspective of it.

Step 4: Calculate the Costs

When you are importing, Analyse Related Expenses to calculate the Total Cost per Product, you might want to import certain products that are available in local markets but that you can find overseas at a lower cost per unit. This is a genius step to decrease the cost of production. However, there are several importation costs that you will need to calculate in addition to the supplier’s total cost of each product per unit. Here are a few costs to include in your calculations as you determine the total importation cost.

• Customs Charges • Exchange Rate Discrepancies • Bank Charges • Storage Charges • Freight/Shipping Charges • Insurance • Inland Transport • GST • Import License Fees • Quarantine Fees

Step 5: Decide If It Is Profitable?

Now the most important question, is it profitable to import? Even after the market research and cost assumption, it is important to determine that your product will perform well in market and be profitable. Importing goods on a complete overview of the financial implications for your business will help you decide whether taking this step makes sense for long-term productivity.

Step 6: Address Requirements on the Products

Certain goods are prohibited to import in to South Africa and some products have restrictions. You need to find out if the product you are planning to import are under restrictions or not. The importation of the following goods into South Africa is prohibited:

• Narcotic and habit-forming drugs in any form.

• Fully automatic, military and unnumbered weapons, explosives and fireworks.

• Poison and other toxic substances.

• Cigarettes with a mass of more than 2 kilograms per 1,000.

• Goods to which a trade description or trademark is applied in contravention of any Act (for example, counterfeit goods).

• Unlawful reproductions of any works subject to copyright.

• Prison-made and penitentiary-made goods.

Step 7: Contact the Supplier and Place an Order

Once you decide to start to import process you should select a supplier and place an order. You must make sure the order is legitimate and you must get it in written documents. Remember to review the applicable terms and conditions placed on your order so that you can understand how the supplier will handle your order and what you can expect next. Do not guess or assume things, you must clear each and everything with supplier. Main reason is when it comes to international trade it is easy to get confused or make wrong assumptions due to language and geographical differences. To make sure you will receive the perfect order, you must communicate payment terms, product quality and any special product details very precisely with the supplier.

Step 8: Tracking the Delivery

You should prepare arrangements to clear the goods upon arrival. Also your goods may need to be quarantined for some time until they are cleared. However, if you are getting custom broker assistance they will clear your goods for you. Remember to keep in contact with customs agency to ensure speedy and efficient clearance

Step 9: Execute a Good Marketing Plan

It is a common mistake to wait until your goods arrive to decide on your market plan. So, prepare ahead and build up a market plan even before your goods arrive. Once your product is arrived in the country and cleared through customs you should plan for an inspection to make sure your products are in perfect condition. After you go through your products and inspect them in detail you may decide if they are up to standards.  Just in case if you are not satisfied with your products you should contact the supplier and take action to return the goods. Once you are satisfied with your goods you need to build a good plan to market them. When it comes to foreign products you need to analyse the market and find out the market potential. 

Category : How to import successfully from china