Market Reports/Tariffs
Textiles, Apparel, Footwear and Travel Goods

South Africa

Import Tariffs
Market Information

Last updated on 01/09/2013

If you have any questions about the following information, please contact Maria D'Andrea-Yothers at the U.S. Department of Commerce- Office of Textiles and Apparel at 202-482-4058 or click here for e-mail access.

**The following information is provided only as a guide and should be confirmed with the proper authorities before embarking on any export activities.**

Import Tariffs - South Africa
South Africa is a member of the South African Customs Union (SACU), along with Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and Swaziland. Under the SACU agreement, all members apply import duties and related measures set by South Africa. Applied customs tariffs, excise duties, valuation methods, origin rules, and contingency trade remedies are harmonized throughout SACU.

South Africa applies the SACU common external tariff (CET). The dutiable value of goods imported into South Africa is calculated on the f.o.b. price in the country of export and duties are collected at the place of entry into the common customs area. As the external trade of land-locked Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland is directed through South Africa, as well as much of Namibia's international trade, South Africa collects virtually all customs duties and excise taxes.

South Africa (SACU): Tariffs (percent ad valorem) for Textiles, Apparel, Footwear and Travel Goods
HS Chapter/Subheading
Tariff Rate Range (%)
- silk
- wool
0 - 15
- cotton
- other vegetable fiber
- man - made fiber
0 - 15
Woven Fabric
- silk
- wool
- cotton
- other vegetable fiber
0 - 22
- man - made fiber
20 - 22
Knit Fabric
0 - 22
Non Woven Fabric
10 - 20
Industrial Fabric
0 - 22
0 - 45
Home Furnishings
    including: bed, bath, kitchen linens, etc.
0 - 30


Travel Goods


5 - 30

0 - 30*


* Some products may be subject to duties applied on a per unit basis.

For more detailed tariff information, see the South African Revenue Service. At the “Window Security” prompt to enter a smart card, click “cancel) At bottom under “Useful Tools” click on “FIND A PUBLICATION”. In the window, type in “schedule 1 tariff book”. Open the “Part 1 of Schedule No. 1”, use the "General" column; or go directly to the tariff schedule. See also the Current Situation of Schedules of Members on the World Trade Organization website. To access the SACU CET, see the Jacobsens Harmonized Customs Tariff website, which may require a subscription.

Additional Taxes and Other Import Fees--Each SACU country sets its own VAT (value-added tax) or sales tax. In practice, when goods are exported from one SACU country to another, the shipper applies for VAT refunds from the exporting country, and then pays the relevant tax to the importing country.

South Africa imposes a VAT of 14 percent on the "domestic open-market value" for goods and services produced in South Africa. On imports, it is levied on the f.o.b. customs value plus the amount of any non-rebated customs duty, uplifted by 10%. The additional 10% is included to adjust for the customs valuation on the f.o.b. value rather than the c.i.f. value. Donated goods are exempt from VAT.

In addition to customs tariffs and VAT, certain products are also subject to excise duties, and levies. A 7 percent ad valorem excise duty is levied on articles of apparel and clothing accessories. The value for ad valorem excise duty purposes of imports includes an uplift of 15 percent of the transaction value and any non-rebated customs duties.

Tariff Rebates--Various provisions for rebate of duty exist for specific materials used in domestic manufacturing. The importer must consult the relevant schedules to the Customs and Excise Act to determine whether the potential imports are eligible for rebate duty. Information can be found on the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa's website.

The Department of Trade and Industry instituted an export promotion scheme specifically for the textile industry whereby an exporter is permitted to import duty free an amount of textile products equivalent to 25 percent of its exports of clothing, 12.5 percent of fabrics and 8 percent of yarns.

Temporary Entry/Samples--South Africa is a member of the ATA Carnet Convention, which allows goods such as commercial samples and goods for international fairs and exhibitions to be entered temporarily without paying duties or posting bonds. The exporter must provide a letter stating that the exporter/carnet holder authorizes the customs clearance agent to clear the shipment on its behalf and may deliver to the consignee addressed therein. This letter from the carnet holder is to accompany the carnet document. SARS will not process carnet clearance without this letter. No duty or VAT is payable on carnet shipments.
Typically, the following goods are eligible to qualify for carnet entry:
  • Commercial samples
  • Goods for international fairs and exhibitions
  • Professional equipment (including tools and instruments, but not goods for processing or repair)

ATA Carnet--An ATA Carnet or "Merchandise Passport" is a document that facilitates the temporary importation of products into foreign countries by eliminating tariffs and other import taxes or charges normally required at the time of importation. For more information or to apply for an ATA Carnet, see the United States Council for International Business website.

If your product is primarily made in the U.S. of U.S. originating components it may qualify for duty-free entry into countries with which the U.S. has a free trade agreement (FTA). The U.S. currently has FTAs with the following countries: Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, Peru, Singapore and South Korea. See the FTA Tariff Tool, to determine the duty-free status or reduced duties that apply to products eligible under these free trade agreements.

Additional resources for tariff information:

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Import Documentation/Procedures (South Africa)

No specific information is available.

For more information on local customs rules and regulations:
SARS (South African Revenue Authority) - Customs and Excise

For information on common export documents, such as transportation documents, export compliance documents, certificates of origin, certificates for shipments of specific goods, temporary shipment documents, and other export-related documents, see the webpage on Common Export Documents.

For country-specific information on import procedures and documentation requirements, see the
Country Commercial Guides (CCG) on the website.

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Import Restrictions (South Africa)
No information is currently available on any bans, quotas, or other restrictions.
U.S. Export Restrictions:

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in the U.S. Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions against targeted foreign countries, terrorists, and international narcotics traffickers and their agents in accordance with U.S. foreign policy and national security goals. The OFAC website includes summaries of sanctions programs for various countries and the “Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons” (SDNs) list of entities and individuals with whom U.S. persons may not conduct business and whose property must be blocked if under the control of a U.S. person.

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) in the U.S. Department of Commerce is responsible for implementing and enforcing the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which regulate the export and re-export of most commercial items. BIS maintains the Denied Persons List, which consists of individuals, and companies that have been denied export and re-export privileges by BIS, and the Entity List, which consists of foreign end users who pose an unacceptable risk of diverting U.S. exports and the technology they contain to alternate destinations for the development of weapons of mass destruction
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Standards - South Africa
No specific information is available.

Local standards organization and other resources:
South African Bureau of Standards - SABS

The National Center for Standards and Certification Information (NCSCI) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S. Department of Commerce provides information on U.S. and foreign standards, technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures for non-agricultural products. NCSCI staff responds to requests for information by identifying relevant standards and regulations, and by referral to the appropriate standards-developers or private-sector organizations. Under copyright restrictions, NCSCI cannot provide copies of standards, but NCSCI does provide sources for accessing standards.

Notify U.S. - Member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are required under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement) to report to the WTO all proposed technical regulations that could affect trade with other Member countries. Notify U.S. is a free, web-based e-mail subscription service that offers U.S. companies an opportunity to review and comment on proposed foreign technical regulations that may affect their access to international markets.

Additional resources:

Examples of voluntary formaldehyde labeling programs

American Apparel and Footwear Association's Restricted Substances List

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

ASTM International

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

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Labeling - South Africa

For textile, apparel, footwear and travel goods products, it is required that a label be permanently applied in a conspicuous place stating in legible manner the country of origin. The labels must also conform to the South African national standards for fiber content and care labeling published in the Government Gazette dated June 30, 2000.

Imported fabric that has been dyed, printed or finished in South Africa must be labeled as such and locally manufactured products using imported materials must state made in South Africa from imported materials.

Textile goods containing sheep’s wool, whether in the piece or made up, are subject to special labeling regulations. Products containing at least 35 percent wool must be labeled to show the percentage of wool content.

The Merchandise Marks Act provides that imported goods may not bear marks giving the misleading impression that they originate in South Africa.

All products shipped to South Africa must conform with the metric international system of units.

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Market Information - South Africa

No specific information is available.

U.S. companies may contact the U.S. Commercial Service for information and personalized counseling at every step of the exporting process. Find a U.S. Export Assistance Centers near you.

For information on protecting trademarks, designs, patents and copyrights, see the STOPFAKES.GOV website. STOPFAKES.GOV is dedicated to helping U.S. companies protect their innovations and safely market their products at home and overseas. Find guidance and resources on how to register your company's intellectual property and protect it from counterfeiting and piracy. Also find IPR toolkits for select countries, as well as other country-specific information.

For information on selling to foreign governments, see the Global Procurement Opportunities website.

Other sources for market information and data:

OTEXA Export Market Report (U.S. export data for textiles, apparel, footwear and travel goods)

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service

U.S. Department of State - U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions

U.S. Office of the Trade Representative

Local Industry and Trade Associations

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