5 Reasons why imports need to be controlled

The importation of all goods, whether new, used or second-hand, is subject to control measures.

On 1 June 2003, the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) was established in South Africa through an Act of Parliament.  ITAC’s main function is to enhance the economic growth and development of the continent and to establish an efficient and effective system for the administration of international trade. Their core functions include tariff investigations, trade remedies and import and export control.

The Minister of Trade, in cooperation with ITAC may, by notice, exercise their authority to control imports. They do it by prescribing that no goods of a specified class or kind, or no goods other than goods of a specified class or kind may be (a) imported into the Republic or (b) imported into the Republic, except under the authority of, and in accordance with the conditions stated in a permit issued by the Commission.

Distinction of Imported Goods:

In the Act of Import and Export Control a distinction is made between the importations of new goods on the one hand; and used, second-hand goods, waste and scrap on the other hand.

To adequately control new goods, 208 tariff sub-headings are dependent on import control measures. These tariff headings include fish and fish products, oils and other fossil fuels, inorganic acids, radio-active chemical elements, hydrocarbons, tyres, base metals, fire-arms and ammunition, gambling machines and other miscellaneous chemicals, ethers and carboxylic acids.

All used and second hand goods are subject to control measures.

The only goods exempt from import control are:

  • Items of no commercial value
  • Items valued at R50 or less (Free on Board –FOB)

So what is the purpose of import control?

1). To ensure that used and second hand goods do not erode the manufacturing SACU industry and the job opportunities in this industry

One of the reasons why import control is so important is because goods manufactured in other countries should not subtract from South Africa’s ability to produce items that will foster economic growth and development. South Africa still needs to regulate and improve the overall employment in the country, raise incomes and promote foreign investments.

2). To ensure that industry sensitive goods are imported in a regulated manner

Hazardous products need to be imported in such a way that it won’t cause any harm to the public or endanger people.

3). To ensure that there is compliance with environmental requirements

Any products that might cause damage to the environment need to be regulated.

4). To assist agencies with the enforcement of other legislation such as safety

Items such as fire-arms or weapons, for example, need to be regulated in order to reinforce general legislation which permits South Africans to carry fire-arms only if they have a license.

5). To ensure compliance with the provisions of International Agreements

Certain countries have exclusive trade agreements for specific items. Import control reinforces these agreements.

6). To regulate import duties charged in such a way as to protect industry

Imported goods that can be manufactured in South Africa are often taxed to protect the South African Industry. An application can be made to ITAC to raise a tariff on specified goods or remove the tariff for certain raw materials which are not supplied in South Africa but are required for manufacturing. An application may also be made for duty free importation of raw materials that are used to manufacture exported products. For assistance with these applications contact Trade Logistics.

It can be safely assumed therefore that import control is of vital importance and that ITAC will do everything in its power to effectively manage the systems in place to foster economic growth.

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