There are two aspects to registration as an exporter with SARS:
The first is that every exporter of any product out of South Africa has to be
registered with the Customs and Excise division of SARS. The second is that
exporters to countries with whom South Africa has trade agreements usually need
to be registered specifically in terms of those agreements in order to enjoy the
foreign market import duty concessions – usually this means duty-free entry for the
6.1 Registration as an exporter
Registration is required of any person, company, or other entity wishing to export any
goods out of South Africa. The basic registration requires the following application
forms to be completed:
• DA 185 Application form: registration/licensing of Customs and Excise clients
• DA 185.4A2 Registration client type 4A2 – exporter.
Forms are available from Customs and Excise offices and may also be downloaded
from www.sars.gov.za > Client Segments > Customs and Excise > Processing >Pre-assessment > Registration > Local exporter.
Completed forms, together with all required supporting documents should be
submitted to the nearest Customs and Excise branch. There is no charge for
registration and the validity period is indefinite. Registration usually takes about 10
working days from date of submission.
6.2 Registration as an exporter under preferential trade arrangements
South Africa has several trade agreements with other countries or groups of
countries that give South African products preferential duty entry into the countries
concerned. The Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement (TDCA)
between South Africa and the European Union (EU) allows for duty-free entry of a
wide range of South African goods into EU member countries (Austria, Belgium,
Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France,
Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta,
the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain,
Sweden and the United Kingdom).
The Free Trade Agreement of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) gives a wide range of South African products duty-free entry into 10 of
the 15 SADC members (Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique,
Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe), who, with South Africa,
have implemented the FTA.
The Southern African Customs Union (SACU), which links South Africa, Botswana,
Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, has a Free Trade Agreement with the European
Free Trade Area (EFTA) comprising Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland.
Some developed countries grant the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)
status to South Africa, specifically EU members, Norway, Russia and Turkey. The
United States also grants GSP to South Africa and in addition extends to South
Africa and other sub-Saharan African countries a wide range of duty preferences
under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
In order for the relevant importing country to be sure that the products entering
the market are eligible for the preferential duties provided by these arrangements,
additional registration by South African exporters with SARS is required. These
requirements are in addition to registration as an exporter (DA 185 and DA 185.4A.2)
and are outlined below.
• DA 185.4A7 Registration Client Type 4A7 – Producer
• DA 185.4A4 Registration Client Type 4A4 – Manufacturer
• DA 46A2.01 Exporter’s Application for Registration for the purposes of the GSP
• DA 46A2.02 Producer’s Application for Registration for the purposes of the GSP
APPROVED EXPORTER –TDCA & SACU-EFTA
• DA 49A.02 Application for approved exporter status
In practice, exporters usually apply for all registrations to ensure that they can exercise
all suitable market selection options. All the forms may be downloaded from: www.sars.
gov.za > Client Segments > Customs and Excise > Processing > Pre-assessment >
Registration > Local exporter. Completed forms, with required supporting documentation,
should be submitted to the nearest Customs and Excise office.
6.2.1 Rules of Origin
All trade agreements stipulate Rules of Origin that need to be complied with in order to
qualify for preferential import duty rates. The exporter is responsible for establishing the
Rules of Origin as well as for proving to customs (upon request) that the product does
indeed comply. If the product does comply the exporter can register for the applicable
trade agreement. This registration will allow for access to the relevant Certificate of Origin
SARS Customs defines the four basic principles of rules of origin as being:
• The first is wholly produced. In the case of these rules, products are regarded as
originating in a specific territory if all the materials used in producing the product are
from that territory or if the product is wholly obtained. For example, wheat flour made
exclusively from wheat that was grown in a country and milled in that country would
be regarded as wholly produced.
• The second is the principle of value added in the manufacturing of a product. If this
principle is applied, the product is normally considered to have originated in a specific
country if a specified percentage of the product value has been added there.
• The third type of rule determines origin on the basis of a change in tariff classification.
By using this system, the origin of a product is determined in the country where, as a
result of processing, its tariff classification changes.
• The fourth is the specific process test/principle, e.g. manufacturing from yarn.
More detailed information on Rules of Origin can be obtained from SARS – Customs
Division. Refer to Chapter 7 for further discussion on the various Certificates of Origin.