South Africa has a trade, development and cooperation agreement with the EU, which establishes a free trade area covering 90% of bilateral trade between the two parties.

South Africa is party to the negotiations of an Economic Partnership Agreement with the Southern African Development Community Southern African Development Community comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland. Negotiations were concluded in July 2014.

Rules of Origin


Toleranceis set at 15% of the ex-work price of the product, except for products falling within Chapters 3, 24 and headings 1604, 1605, 2207 and 2208, for which the value is set at 10% of the ex-work price of the product.

See also: General rule of Tolerance or De Minimis


In order for those arrangements to enter into force, South Africa needs to conclude agreements on administrative cooperation with the ACP countries it wants to cumulate with. Until now, no such agreement has been concluded yet.

See also: General rule of Cumulation

Direct transport

Evidence of the direct transport will have to be brought to the customs authorities of the importing country

See also: General rule of Direct transport or Non-Manipulation

Duty drawback

Duty drawback is authorized

See also: General rule of Duty drawback

Vessels conditions

In the case of fish products the EU rules of origin make a distinction between fish captured within the territorial seas of the beneficiary/partner country and fish captured beyond. In the first case, the product will be considered as originating without additional conditions. In the second, the product will be considered as originating only if it was captured by a vessel:

  • Flying the flag of the beneficiary/partner country,
  • Registered in that beneficiary/partner country,
  • which are owned to an extent of at least 50% by nationals of EC Member States or of South Africa, or by a company with its head office in one of these States, of which the manager or managers, Chairman of the Board of Directors or the Supervisory Board, and the majority of the members of such boards are nationals of EC Member States or of South Africa and of which, in addition, in the case of partnerships or limited companies, at least half the capital belongs to those States or to public bodies or nationals of the said States;
  • of which the master and officers are nationals of EC Member States or of South Africa; and
  • of which at least 75% of the crew are nationals of EC Member States or of South Africa.

Product specific rules of origin

Product specific rulescan be found in Annex II

Proofs of Origin

Under the rules of origin applicable to South Africa, in order to benefit from the preferential duty rates, products originating in South Africa must be accompanied by either:

For consignments of products originating in South Africa valued €6 000 or less, any exporter can fill out a declaration. Approved exporters can do so for consignments of any value.

When filling in an invoice declaration, you should be prepared to submit documents proving the originating status of your products.

To make an invoice declaration, you should type, stamp or print the following declaration (in the appropriate language) on the invoice, delivery note or other commercial document:

The exporter of the products covered by this document (customs authorisation No ... ) declares that, except where otherwise clearly indicated, these products are of ... preferential origin

You can find the different language versions, together with explanatory notes, in the second page of the invoice declaration. Check with your customs authorities for any extra requirements they might have.

You must sign your invoice declaration by hand.

If you are an approved exporter, you are exempt from this requirement provided you give the South African customs authorities a written undertaking that you accept full responsibility for any declaration identifying you.

To become an approved exporter, you must be able to satisfy your customs authorities of the originating status of your products, as well as any other requirements they may impose.

The customs authorities can withdraw your approved status if you abuse it in any way. To find out more about the procedures, contact your customs authorities.

Proof of origin remains valid for 4 months