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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How do I complete a SADC certificate?

A SADC certificate is divided up into sections. Each section of the certificate is numbered. Below is a guide on how to complete each section.

Neither erasures nor superimposition should be allowed on the certificate. Any alterations should be made by striking out the erroneous entries and making any additions required.

A SADC certificate consists of 3 duplicate copies. Give all 3 copies to your freight agent. The original copy accompanies the freight, the other 2 copies go to SARS.

Section 1: The exporter’s name, address and company registration number.

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

Section 3, 5, 12 and 13: 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. If your shipment contains goods from other chapters, you’ll need to complete more than one SADC certificate.

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: State country of origin, place, date and sign.

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.

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