Trends in South Africa’s Tariff and Trade Remedy Investigations
Tariff, trade remedy and safeguard investigations in South Africa are undertaken by the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC), which is responsible for the administration of international trade in terms of the ITAC Act and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Agreement. ITAC’s main role involves investigations on i) ordinary customs duties; ii) trade remedies; and iii) import and export control.
In South Africa, trade remains a key catalyst to stimulate and accelerate growth along a path that generates sustainable, decent jobs in line with the national development plan (NDP) and the national growth path (NGP). It is important to note that the tariff remains a key instrument to industrial policy in South Africa; as such, the National Industrial Policy Framework (NIPF) and the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) are central components of this strategy which seeks to encourage and upgrade value-added, labour-absorbing industrial production. Therefore, in terms of tariff investigations, a case-by-case approach is applied by ITAC where the facts of each investigation are carefully examined to determine whether the tariff intervention (increases, decreases, rebates or drawbacks of general customs duties) is required to support domestic producers.
This trade brief focuses on tariffs and trade remedies and safeguards only. It is important to note that these remedies are triggered in response to different situations and circumstances which may be causing material injury to a domestic industry, and recourse to these tools is initiated by the domestic industry. The paper focuses on two key products/sectors where interventions have been requested regularly by ITAC – namely steel and sugar, highlighting the rationale behind interventions or the lack thereof. It concludes with a brief discussion on implications of ITAC’s interventions on the SACU Common Customs Area (CCA) and the Common External Tariff (CET).
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