Trade Data Analysis

South Africa: Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile

South Africa: Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile

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Overview of South Africa’s intra-African trade relationships; top import and export products; and applicable import tariffs for 2018 (and comparative data for 2017)

Intra-Africa trade

  • In 2018, South Africa exported and imported goods to and from the rest of Africa to the value of US$25 billion and US$11.5 billion, respectively. Intra-Africa exports account for 26% of South Africa’s total exports and imports for 12% of total imports for 2018.

  • Between 2017 and 2018, South Africa’s intra-Africa exports increased by 7%, while intra-Africa imports increased by 35%. Increased imports are mainly due to a 73% and 28% growth in imports of petroleum oil and petroleum gas.

  • South Africa’s main intra-Africa export products are petroleum oils (excluding crude), goods and passenger motor vehicles, coal and chromium ores and concentrates. The top 10 intra-Africa export products accounts for 26% of South Africa’s total exports to other African countries.

  • 50% of South Africa’s intra-Africa imports are crude petroleum oils. 87% of which are imported from Nigeria and Angola.

  • Other main import products are petroleum gas, mixtures of odoriferous substances (a beverage additive), semi-manufactured gold and electric energy. The top 10 products South Africa imports from the rest of Africa accounts for 69% of South Africa’s total intra-Africa imports.

  • South Africa mainly trades with neighbouring countries (except for Zambia as a destination market and Nigeria and Angola as source countries).

  • In terms of South Africa’s total trade (exports + imports) with the rest of the continent; Namibia (13%), Botswana (12%), Nigeria (12%) and Mozambique (12%) are South Africa’s main African trading partners.

  • The main destination markets for South African exports are Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and Zambia.

  • South Africa mainly sources intra-Africa imports from Nigeria, Angola, eSwatini and Namibia.

Intra-Africa import tariffs

Most of the goods imported into South Africa from other SADC member states enter duty-free. The only exceptions are wheat flour, sugar, second-hand clothes and tyres. Although the applied duty for wheat flour imports from SADC is zero, there are currently no SADC Rules of Origin on wheat flour. This means that all wheat flour originating in SADC and imported into South Africa is levied the MFN applied duty of 73.61c/kg. Sugar imports, raw and refined face a specific duty of 401.79c/kg, while the duty on second-hand clothes varies depending on the tariff line (20% ad valorem, 35c/unit, 50c/unit and 60% or 2500c/kg). Tyre imports under HS980100 have a 20% duty.

13% of South Africa’s intra-Africa exports are to countries that are not members of SACU or SADC. South Africa sources 42% of its intra-Africa imports from countries outside SACU and SADC. 93% of these imports are crude petroleum oils from Nigeria and Ghana. Other main source countries are Egypt, Togo and Morocco. Of the top 20 products (97% of products imported from outside SACU and SADC) South Africa imports, only four tariff lines (at the HS8 level) have non-zero tariffs: non-woven synthetics (10% import duty), oilcake (6.6% duty), ignition wiring (5% duty) and fresh grapes (4% duty).


South Africa: Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile – 2018 | February 2019
Infographic: South Africa – Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile | February 2019
South Africa: Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile – 2017 | June 2018
Infographic: South Africa – Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile | June 2018

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