Duty Calls

Saudi Arabia and UAE float glass dumping

On 17 August the International Trade Administration of South Africa (Itac) initiated an investigation into alleged dumping of clear float glass with a thickness of 3mm to 6mm, classifiable under tariff subheadings 7005.29.17, 7005.29.23, 7005.29.25 and 7005.29.35, originating in or imported from Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE), on which comment is due by 17 September. The application was lodged by PFG Building Glass (Pty) Ltd who allege that float glass is being dumped on the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) market, causing material injury and the threat of material injury to the industry.

Metal waste/scrap export directive

Itac on 14 August called for comment to revise the Export Control Guidelines for the exportation of ferrous and non-ferrous waste and scrap metal, which is due by 28 August. On its launch in 2013, the Economic Development Minister issued Itac with a Trade Policy Directive on the exportation of ferrous and non-ferrous waste and scrap metal. The directive set out the policy in terms of which Itac was to exercise its powers in administering the exportation of ferrous and non-ferrous waste and scrap metal. Itac subsequently issued the now-to-be-revised guidelines, which give effect to the Directive.

Increase in sugar customs duties

On 15 August the trade and industry minister announced that he had endorsed Itac’s recommendation for an increase in import duties on sugar to US$680/ton. This follows an application launched by the SA Sugar Association (Sasa) to Itac in February 2018 for an increase of dollar-based duty from US$566/ton to US$856/ton and intensive investigation by Itac. The tariff forms part of a set of measures considered by government, in collaboration with the industry, in order to improve the sustainability of the industry and future growth prospects.

Combating illicit tobacco trade

The Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (Tisa) and the Fair-trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) on 15 August met at Sars head office to discuss and agree on collaboration to combat illicit trade in cigarette and all tobacco products. Fita and Tisa, which represent approximately 99% of the tobacco industry, committed to ensure that their members fully complied with the tax, customs and excise laws, and to act against any of their members that were found to be contravening the legislation, which could include their suspension, or expulsion. Sars, Tisa and Fita acknowledged their shared responsibility in combating illicit trade in cigarette and tobacco products in the best interests of economic growth and compliance with the legislation.

VAT Zero-Rate Items - Comment due

On 10 August the finance minister released the independent panel’s report on the review of the current list of items that are zero-rated for VAT purposes, on which comment is due by 31 August. The report recommends the zero-rating of: (i) White bread, bread flour and cake flour; (ii) Sanitary products; (iii) School uniforms (if separated from general clothing); and (iv) Nappies, including cloth and adult nappies (and the provision of free sanitary product for the poor.)