Trade agreements and Certificates of origin

GUIDE TO: Completing a SADC certificate

South African exporters selling goods to Southern African countries may be eligible to receive SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) certificates.

These certificates state that the exported goods were either wholly or partly manufactured in South Africa. A SADC certificate gives an exporter a great competitive advantage, as there is little or no import duty charged on cargo accompanied with a SADC certificate in other SADC countries. This lowers the buyer’s costs and makes your product look more attractive in the global market.

The members of SADC

Countries that are members of SADC and therefore accept SADC certificates include: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia ,Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

However, because Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Eswatini, along with South Africa, form the South African Customs Union (SACU), goods that move between them are already duty free.

Using a SADC certificate

Trading with SADC certificates means you need to fill in one and send it with each export shipment that goes to a SADC country. Each section of the SADC certificate is numbered. How to complete each section is explained here. To view a SADC certificate click here or refer to the image below.

To order SADC certificates you must be registered as an exporter under the SADC Free Trade Agreement. If you already have an import export license but you are not registered as a SADC exporter, your existing export registration must first be amended.

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Currently there are two versions of the SADC certificate in circulation.

We cover both below:

The sections of an older SADC certificate (most likely issued up to July 2021)

Section 1: The exporter’s name and address

Section 2: The buyer’s name and address

Section 3, 5, and 12: For official use (leave this blank)

Section 4: Mode of transport (road/sea/air). You can add the departure and destination cities or the transport vessel number, but this is not essential. For example, “Roadfreight from Cape Town to Maputo” or “Seafreight, MSC Marina V 123”.

Section 6: A a basic description of the goods and how they are packed. Are there any marks on the packaging, or is there a container number? If there aren’t marks, state “no marks”. An example would be: “1 x 6 metre container containing 1000 cartons of dog food”.

Section 7: List the tariff codes of all cargo items here. Take note that all tariff codes must be from the same chapter in the tariff book. I.e. it must start with the same 2 digits.

Section 8: Insert “P” for goods wholly produced in South Africa, or “S” for goods made with some imported components.

Section 9: This is the total weight, including packing material.

Section 10: Give the number and date of the commercial invoice accompanying your cargo.

Section 11: Sign and date

Back Page: Turn over your SADC certificate and complete the back page by filling in a brief description of how the goods were manufactured and why they are of South African origin.

For example: “Manufactured in a South African factory using South African raw materials”.

List any supporting documents that you may supply. The supporting documents are not compulsory, and may include items such as a manufacturer’s declaration.

Click here for an example of a completed old SADC certificate.

Making use of the SADC certificates is one simple way to give your products an edge when competing in Southern Africa. More information on trade agreements that South Africa is part of is available here.

SADC certificate front page
SADC certificate back page

The sections of a newer SADC certificate (most likely issued after July 2021)

Section 1: The exporter’s name and address

Section 2: The buyer or receiver’s name and address

Section 3, 5, 11 and 12: For official use (leave this blank)

Section 4: Mode of transport (road/sea/air). You can add the departure and destination cities or the transport vessel number, but this is not essential. For example, “Air Freight from Cape Town International Airport to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport” or “Seafreight, MSC Marina V 123”.

Section 6: A a basic description of the goods and how they are packed. Are there any marks on the packaging, or is there a container number? If there aren’t marks, state “no marks”. An example of a containerised shipment would be: “1 x 6 metre container containing 1000 cartons of dog food – Container number 0000000000”.

Section 7: List the tariff codes of all cargo items here. Take note that all tariff codes must be from the same chapter in the tariff book. I.e. it must start with the same 2 digits.

Section 8: Insert “P” for goods wholly produced in South Africa, or “S” for goods made with some imported components.

Section 9: This is the total weight, including packing material.

Section 10: Give the number and date of the commercial invoice accompanying your cargo.

Back Page: 

Turn over the SADC certificate and complete the back page by filling in the producer’s details. If you did not manufacture or grow the goods, you are the exporter, but not the producer. In this case you’ll need to complete 2 copies of the SADC certificate.

The back page also requires an itemised list of the shipment stating the quantities and the classification you used in section 8 for each line. (“P” for goods wholly produced in South Africa, or “S” for goods made with some imported components)

Click here for an example of a completed new SADC certificate.

Making use of the SADC certificates is one simple way to give your products an edge when competing in Southern Africa. More information on trade agreements that South Africa is part of is available here.

sadc-certificate-front
sadc-certificate-back

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