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Trade Law Chambers | What's On

Global Britain—spotlight on international trade with South Africa

What opportunities and challenges would a trade deal with South Africa present the UK? Rian Geldenhuys, director at Trade Law Chambers, explains why it is important for the UK to be clear and transparent on its interests before entering into a trade deal with South Africa. Please read the full interview on the Lexisnexis UK Website here (registration is required).  

World's leading Trade & Customs lawyers

wwl logo 2014We are delighted to annouce that Rian Geldehuys has been named by Who's Who Legal as being among the world's leading Trade & Customs lawyers. Rian has been selected by his clients and peers and the recognition will be published in Who's Who Legal: Trade and Customs 2016  in November 2016. 

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Expiry of anti-dumping duties

The International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) recently published a notice in terms of which several SACU industries are called upon to show good cause why the current anti-dumping duties in force should not expire in 2017.

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Brexit Discussion

Trade Law Chambers in collaboration with Rand Merchant Bank will be hosting a discussion on the trade implications of Brexit and what the vote holds for South African business as well as the African market midst this uncertainty.

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SADC and EU sign EPA

After years of negotiations certain SADC (Southern African Development Community) Member States have finally signed the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU). The SADC configuration for the EPA consist of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique. The EPA agreement finally addresses the concerns of the old Cotonou Agreement and will replace South Africa’s Trade Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) with the EU.

Under the SADC EPA Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland will have 100% duty free access to the EU market. South Africa’s access to the EU market is different as only 98.7% of the customs duties have been partly or wholly removed. The EU does not have the same level of access to the SADC EPA Member States’ markets. Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland removed approximately 86% of their duties whilst Mozambique removed 74% of its duties for EU imports.

Although the negotiations began in 2004 and the agreement has now been signed, each SADC EPA Member State and the European Parliament must now ratify the agreement before it comes into force.

For more information on the SADC EU Economic Partnership Agreement, kindly do not hesitate to contact us.

Rian Geldenhuys
© Trade Law Chambers 2016

Application to increase tariffs on stainless steel flat products

ITAC received an application to increase the tariffs on stainless steel flat products from being duty free to 10% ad valorem. The application covers the entire spectrum of flat-rolled products of stainless steel.

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ITAC initiates safeguard action against flat-rolled iron and steel

On 24 March 2016 ITAC initiated a safeguard investigation on certain flat-rolled iron and steel products. Safeguards may be taken if an industry can show that there were unforeseen devleopments that led to a surge in imports that caused serious injury to a domestic industry. The safguard measure that may be imposed either takes the form of an annual quota or the equivalent in tariffs.


Read more ...

ITAC initiates sunset review on anti-dumping duties on glass from India

The International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa initiated a sunset review of the anti-dumping duties on unframed glass mirrors originating in or imported from India. The sunset review is needed as the original anti-dumping duties were set to expire on 3 March 2016. The applicant, PFG Building Glass, demonstrated a prima facie dumping margin of 188.18%.

The initiation notice was published on 19 February 2016 and interested parties must submit their information by no later than 30 days from 19 February.

For further information kindly do contact Rian Geldenhuys.

© Trade Law Chambers 2016

ITAC initiates safeguard investigations against EU chicken

The South African Poultry Association brought an application to impose safeguard measures against frozen bone-in chicken portions imported from the European Union. The application is brought in terms of Article 16 of the Trade Development and Cooperation Agreement ("TDCA") between the European Union and South Africa. The International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa ("ITAC") has initiated an inverstigation into whether safeguard measures are warranted.  As such, should the investigation into the imposition of safeguard measures find that safeguard measures are warranted, any safeguard measure imposed would only be against the European Union and not against any other World Trade Organisation ("WTO") member state.

The initiation notice was published on 19 February 2016 and interested parties must submit their information by no later than 20 days from 19 February.

For further information kindly do contact Rian Geldenhuys.

© Trade Law Chambers 2016


AGOA: Rebate provision for bone-in Chicken from USA

To read the draft guidelines for the application for a rebate permit for anti-dumping duties on bone-in chicken from the USA, please click here.


Kindly note that comments are due by 13 November 2015.

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Expiry of certain anti-dumping duties

On 19 June 2015 the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) published a notice in terms of which several SACU industries are called upon to show good cause why the current anti-dumping duties in force should not expire in 2016. SACU manufacturers have until 27 July 2015 to submit a request to ITAC to have the anti-dumping duty reviewed before its expiry.

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Tripartite Free Trade Area launched

iStock 000004164298XSmallOn 10 June 2015, the Heads of State and Government of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) launched the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area. The aim is to have a single market of 26 countries with a combined population of 632 million people which should bolster trade amongst the member countries and increase investment flows into the single market.

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08-06-2015 | Best International Trade Law Firm - South Africa

2015 AI MA AwardsTrade Law Chambers has been announced as the Best International Trade Law Firm in South Africa. Trade Law Chambers is a proud winner of one of the 2015 M&A Awards awarded by Acquisition International.

Sunset Review on Anti Dumping Duties on Float and Drawn Glass

On 20 February 2015 the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) initiated a sunset review investigation on anti-dumping duties on float and drawn glass imported from China and India. , South Africa currently levies anti-dumping duties float and drawn glass ranging from R5.62/m2 to R13.87/m2 depending on the thickness of the glass and its origin.

Parties interested in maintaining the anti-dumping duties or having them removed must submit responses to the ITAC no later than 40 days from 20 February 2015, failing which any such comments will not be taken into account.

For any assistance, kindly contact Rian Geldenhuys.

© Trade Law Chambers 2015

Sunset Review on Anti Dumping Duties on Garlic

iStock 000005966151XSmallOn 20 March 2015 the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) initiated a sunset review investigation on anti-dumping duties on garlic imported from China. South Africa currently levies anti-dumping duties fresh and chilled garlic of R10.37/kg.

Parties interested in maintaining the anti-dumping duties or having them removed must submit responses to the ITAC no later than 30 days from 20 March 2015, failing which any such comments will not be taken into account. A copy of the initiation notice may be downloaded by clicking here.

For any assistance, kindly contact Rian Geldenhuys.

© Trade Law Chambers 2015

SA to modify GATS commitments?

Today Business Day reported that the Minister of Police reportedly stated on Thursday that South Africa will withdraw from its commitments to the World Trade Organization's (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

The Minister of Police made this statement as the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill requires that 51% of all private security entities is to be owned and controlled by South African citizens. Should President Zuma sign the bill in its current format into law, apart from the potential violation of South Africa's Constitution, it will also be a violation of South Africa's international obligations under the GATS. This is due to the fact that South Africa committed under GATS that no trade restrictions will be implemented in the private security industry. As a consequence South Africa is bound by these commitments and cannot unilaterally impose a local ownership and control requirement.

However it seems that South Africa will in fact consider its international obligations under GATS as the Minister of Police stated that South Africa will utilise article 21 of the GATS which allows South Africa to modify its international commitments. Interestingly it seems that South Africa does not want to rely on article 14, which allows for general exceptions to a member's commitments, or article 14 bis, which allows for the possibility to take any action which is necessary for the protection of South Africa's security interests. , Indeed article 21 of the GATS does provide for a procedure to be followed in order to modify a member of the WTO's commitments under the GATS. However, this procedure is by no means a mere procedural formality. , It requires, amongst others, a formal notification to the WTO's Council for Trade in Services where any affected WTO member may claim compensation for the loss to be suffered if South Africa modifies its GATS commitments. This involves negotiations between South Africa and any such WTO members that may have claimed compensation. If any agreement is reached, such compensation will not only be afforded to the member states that negotiated with South Africa, but South Africa will have to extend the compensation to all other WTO members. , It could potentially take a very long time to negotiate and has only ever been successfully done once by the US and twice by the EU which in each instance took many years to conclude.

In reaching any agreement under article 21 of the GATS, the problem faced by South Africa is that its services sectors are already exceptionally open to free trade. As such, South Africa does not have a lot of leeway in opening up more sectors in trying to offer compensation.

South Africa's private security industry is estimated to be worth around R50bn a year. However thus far no estimation can be given for the potential cost of the compensation to be granted to all WTO members under article 21 of the GATS. Furthermore, South Africa's trade relations do not operate in silos. Currently South Africa is lobbying the US government for its continued inclusion under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). According to South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa's exports under AGOA was worth $3.6bn in 2014. It has been reported that there are members of the US Congress opposed to including South Africa under AGOA if it proceeds with any modification of its GATS commitments. Thus not only will South Africa pay an as-yet-unknown-price in respect of its services sectors for all WTO member states, but it could very well lose out on roughly the value of the entire private security industry (whether 100% locally owned and controlled or not) in exports of goods under AGOA.

It remains to be seen what South Africa will do and indeed what the relevant Ministers in charge of South Africa's international trade relations' reactions to the Minister of Police's statements may be. Indeed the Minister of Police's statements not only negatively affects foreign investors' perception of South Africa, but also brings about great uncertainty for South African companies.

© Trade Law Chambers 2015

International Trade Law Firm 2015

Trade Law Chambers has been awarded an award in CorporateINTL 2015 Legal Awards. Trade Law Chambers has been voted as the Boutique International Trade Law Firm of the Year in ,South Africa.

© Trade Law Chambers 2015

SA may be offering foreigners better investment protection

Business Day reports that certain provisions of the draft Investment Promotion and Protection Bill have been strengthened during deliberations of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).

Although the updated draft bill has not yet been seen, it is understood that it will likely be introduced in Parliament next year,

To read Business Day's article please click here.

© Trade Law Chambers 2014

Leading practitioners in international trade

We are delighted to announce that one of our lawyers has been nominated as one of the best of the best.

Euromoney has been publishing expert guides for 20 years where the world's finest lawyers are chosen by their peers. After the successful completion of the nomination process for the International Trade and Shipping guide where a record number of people actively participated and endorsed the most talented and reputable lawyers, Rian Geldenhuys has been nominated by in-house counsel and lawyers to appear in the 9th edition as one of the leading practitioners in international trade.

© Trade Law Chambers 2014


© Trade Law Chambers 2014

New codes requiring BEE in small businesses

On Friday 10 October 2014 the South African Government published new codes of good practice. The new codes set out the proposed black economic empowerment requirements for small businesses (being businesses with an annual turnover between R10m to R15m).

Interested parties have until 14 November 2014 to comment. Please do contact us if you require ,a copy of the new codes.

© Trade Law Chambers 2014

Export control measures on scrap metal

In September of 2013 the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa ("ITAC") introduced export control measures on the export of scrap metal. In terms hereof scrap metal could not be exported if the scrap metal was not previously offered to the local market at 20% below the international benchmark price.

On 19 September 2014 ITAC published a notice in terms whereof it seeks comments on the current preference pricing system with a view to review the actual preference pricing system currently in place. The proposal is that the discount should either stay the same or be increased to as much as 30% of the international benchmark price, depending on the type of scrap metal.

Interested parties have four weeks from 19 September 2014 to submit comments to ITAC. A copy of the notice may be downloaded here. For any assistance, kindly contact Rian Geldenhuys.

© Trade Law Chambers 2014

ITAC initiates sunset review on anti dumping duties of stainless steel kitchen sinks

On 19 September 2014 the International Trade Administration of South Africa (ITAC) initiated a sunset review investigation on the anti-dumping duties applicable to stainless steel kitchen sinks imported from the Malaysia and the People's Republic of China.

The initiation notice may be downloaded here. Interested parties have 40 days as from 19 September 2014 to reply in full to the investigation unless they have received notification from ITAC directly, in which case they will have 30 days from the date of that notification. For any assistance, kindly contact Rian Geldenhuys.

© Trade Law Chambers 2014

Better trade with the EU

After 10 years of negotiating the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU), the South African Development Community (SADC) has finally initialled the EPA. , South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Angola and Mozambique form part of the SADC grouping that initialled the EPA with the EU.

Once the EPA comes into force, it will provide South Africa with improved access to the EU market. As such it holds benefits to exporters over and above those benefits currently contained in the Trade Development and Co-operation Agreement (TDCA) between South Africa and the EU. Agricultural products have particularly gained greater access to the EU market as well as safeguard protection from surges in imports from the EU. It is expected that the various countries would now ratify the EPA in order for the EPA to become effective.

For more information on the full extent of the impact of the EPA, please do contact us.

Rian Geldenhuys
© Trade Law Chambers 2014

Investing in South Africa Expert Guide

Trade Law Chambers has been included in the Expert Guide ? Opportunities and Developments Africa Focus 2014. The Expert Guide consists of articles authored by numerous legal experts from around the world. , Rian Geldenhuys contributed an article on the legal considerations for investing in South Africa. The article may be viewed by clicking here. To download the entire Expert Guide, please click here.

© Trade Law Chambers 2014

SAs Customs and Trade Law Firm

Worldwide Financial Advisors Magazine appreciates that the world's leading professionals are called upon to assist with transactional matters throughout the deal process. As such it recognises a select number of leading professionals and professional firms across the globe for their individual areas of specialisation. Trade Law Chambers is delighted to announce that we have been recognised as the South African Customs and Trade Law Firm of the Year.

© Trade Law Chambers 2014

Global Award Winner : Commercial Law

Finance Monthly recently announced their Global Awards winners. We are delighted that Rian Geldenhuys has been recognised as the Commercial Lawyer of the Year in South Africa.

© Trade Law Chambers 2014


Proposed GI protection for Wines Spirits

Proposals have been made for the protection in South Africa of European Union geographical indications for wines and spirits.


On 7 March 2014, the Wine and Spirit Board gave notice of the exact geographical indications. The Wine and Spirit Board invite interested persons to submit written represeantions within 30 days from 7 March. To download the notice, kindly click here.

© Trade Law Chambers 2014

World Processed Deciduous Fruit Conference

The 12th World Processed Deciduous Fruit Conference ("Cancon12") ,will be held in South Africa from 09 to 12 March 2014. Cancon12 is the world conference fo the deciduous fruit processing and allied industries and is one of the most acclaimed events in the international diary as it offers parties the opportunity to participate and share knoledge at the highest level.

Rian Geldenhuys has been invited to present at Cancon on 11 March 2014 . He will be presenting his trade perspectives on trade remedies (anti-dumping, subsidies and safeguards) as well as tariffs.

© Trade Law Chambers 2014

WTO agrees on new global trade deal

Rian Geldenhuys writes a guest editorial for export &, import SA magazine's January 2014 edition.

To read the guest editorial, please click here.


© Trade Law Chambers 2014

Success in opposing the imposition of safeguard measures and anti dumping duties

Trade Law Chambers has been in the news recently following on the successful opposition of the Australian safeguard investigation on processed fruit and tomatoes and the Australian anti-dumping investigation against canned peaches originating from South Africa. Both investigations were terminated subsequent to written and oral submissions by Trade Law Chambers on behalf of South African producers and exporters and as such no safeguard measures were imposed against South African processed fruit and tomato products and no anti-dumping duties were levied against South African canned peaches.

To read the news article as it appeared in Business Day, kindly click here.
To read the news article as it appeared in Farmers Weekly, kindly click here.

Rian Geldenhuys
© Trade Law Chambers 2014

Double award winners

The publishers of Acquisition International Magazine have announced the winners of their 2013 Legal Awards. We are proud to announce that Trade Law Chambers has been recognised as the Trade Law Practitioners of the Year whilst Geldenhuys Joubert Attorneys has been recognised as the International Trade Law Firm of the Year.

The awards recognise the outstanding achievements of individuals and companies within the legal sector, encompassing everything from barristers and boutique firms to global players. Specialities range from energy and immigration to antitrust and intellectual property. Acquisition International's Legal Awards identify and honour success, innovation and ethics across international legal and business communities.

Acquisition International prides itself on the validity of its awards and its winners. The awards are given solely on merit and are awarded to commend those most deserving for outstanding work over the last 12 months. Our awards recognise leaders in their respective fields and, crucially, are nominated by their clients and their peers.

Trade Law Chambers

Foreign ownership of private security industry still uncertain

When the draft Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill was published in 2012 we commented that the proposed limitation on foreign ownership may violate South Africa's GATS (General Agreement on Trade in services) commitments at the WTO (World Trade Organisation). To read that story please click here.

It has now transpired that the Bill was in fact adopted by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Police. As such the National Assembly had to finally approve the Bill. The National Assembly however did not approve the Bill and sent it back to the relevant Portfolio Committee for reconsideration in 2014. We therefore wait to see whether the Portfolio Committee will take into consideration South Africa's GATS commitments. The private sector is encouraged to participate in this process.

Rian Geldenhuys
© Trade Law Chambers 2013


Trade & Customs Law Firm of the Year 2013

Trade Law Chambers has again won an award recognising our expertise in international trade law.The latest award has been achieved in the Lawyers World Annual Awards for 2013. Trade Law Chambers has been ,voted as ,the Trade &, Customs Law Firm of the Year 2013 - South Africa.

© Trade Law Chambers 2013



WTO Members to meet in Bali to finalise trade deal

Trade ministers and World trade Organization (WTO) ambassadors of all WTO Member States are meeting in Bali from the 3rd to the 6th of December to finalise the negotiations for a possible new trade reform package. This will be the WTO's 9th Ministerial Conference since its establishment in 1995. It is hoped that this conference will see agreement from all WTO Members on a number of outstanding issues, which should reinforce confidence in the international trading system that has been fizzling out due to the lack of progress to date on the Doha Development Agenda agreed on in 2002.

The main elements to be negotiated at the Conference are trade facilitation, agriculture and duty-free and quota-free access for least-developed countries. WTO Members have been involved in intensive consultations on these issues over the past few months, with the recently appointed Director-General of the WTO Roberto Azev?do from Brazil pushing Members hard to reach a deal in Bali. The Director-General has indicated that the negotiators are closing in on a trade reform deal.

It is estimated by the World Bank that a deal on trade facilitation alone, which focuses on removing customs formalities and other bottlenecks in international trade, could add hundreds of billions of dollars to the international economy through speeding up trade between WTO Members. Agreement on agricultural issues such as export subsidies and food security will be critical to developing countries, which continue to face competition from developed countries' subsidized exports. For the poorest WTO Members, the least-developed countries, the hope is that this round of negotiations will see agreement on duty-free and quota-free access for their exports in world markets as well as improved rules on special and differential treatment.

Niel Joubert, one of our directors will be in Bali for the WTO Conference and will be keeping us updated on progress in this round of negotiations.

© Trade Law Chambers 2013

EU to finalise trade deals

The EU has set a new deadline for concluding its free trade agreements with the African, Carribean and Pacific (ACP) countries. Some years ago the EU embarked on renegotiating its trade agreements with the ACP countries under the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). These Economic Partnership Agreements where negotiated in regional groupings, for instance with SADC and Comesa. Most of these EPAs were signed with a view to concluding further negotiations at a later stage. Although South Africa falls under the SADC grouping, for various reasons it did not sign the interim EU-SADC EPA. ,

The EU ,has now set a deadline ,for concluding negotiations in the EPAs by October 2014 prior to the expiry of ,terms of the EU's trade chief Karel De Gucht. According to media reports the EU is said to offer increased market access for South African agricultural products, including wine and sugar. Under the current free trade agreeement, the Trade Development and Cooperation Agreements (or TDCA), the EU's agricultural products enjoy more preferential access to the South African market than the access enjoyed by South African agricultural products to the EU market.

As such the agriculutral sector should become involved in these negotiations. However it is not only agriculture that should take note, but also the services sector as the EU is keen on obtaining better access to the SADC market than what it currently enjoys.


Rian Geldenhuys

© Trade Law Chambers 2013


Trade Law Chambers wins another accolade

The InterContinental Finance 2013 End of Year Country Awards highlights the premier firms that have been nominated and voted as ?THE BEST? in 2013.

Trade Law Chambers has been voted as the best Trade and Customs Law Firm in South Africa for 2013.


Trade Customs Law Firm 2013

The DealMakers 2013 End of Year Annual Awards celebrates the leading, most prolific firms, that have continually displayed a high degree of quality, tenacity and ability to punch above their weight within their area of specialization. Trade Law Chambers has been announced as the Trade and Customs Law Firm of the Year.


Trade Law Chambers 2013.

Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill

On Friday the South African government released the draft Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill for public comment. This comes after the Department of Trade and Industry signalled in mid 2012 (click here to read that news item) that it would not be entering into any new bilateral investment protection treaties (BITs), ,that it would replace all existing BITs (click ,here to read that news item) ,thereafter commenced with the termination of certain BITs notably with the European Union, South Africa's biggest trade and investment partner. Most recently South Africa has cancelled its BITs with Germany and Switzerland.

In response to concerns raised by interested parties, the South African government responded by stating that the Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill is not a reversal of government's protection of foreign investors but rather an attempt to modernise and improve on the current regulatory framework. Having finally had sight of the draft bill, it seems that there are indeed some unfavourable changes to the protection of foreign investment.

The first such change is that investors no longer have recourse to international arbitration. Typically under the BITs investors are allowed to have arbitration proceedings brought against a government at international institutions such as the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. International arbitration, for obvious reasons, is preferred by investors. Unless the draft bill is amended, investors will only be able to rely on international arbitration under BITs currently in force or where a BIT has been cancelled, until the protection runs out (typically ranging from 10 to 20 years depending on the actual BIT that was cancelled).

A second change relates to the compensation paid in the event of expropriation. True to what the government has been hinting at since 2012, this is aligned with the Constitution, in that an investment may not be expropriated save in accordance with the Constitution and law of general application for public purposes or in the public interest. The change however lies in the compensation payable. In terms of the draft bill the compensation must be just and equitable. This is arguably less compensation than that offered under most BITs, being typically the genuine full market value of the investment expropriated (to read a news item on the lesser compensation click here). , ,

Lastly the draft bill does not allow for investors to rely on protection or seek compensation if the conditions (regulations) change under which they invested in South Africa. The new bill excludes the affirmation that investors will enjoy fair and equitable treatment and full protection and security which is generally contained in BITs. In fact it contains provisions specifically allowing for such measures or a series of measure to be put in place by government which would not amount to expropriation.

As such the draft bill does not treat foreigners as favourably as the BITs did and allows for scope to exercise expropriation if the government so decides. Investors and interested parties are encouraged to make submissions within three months from 1 November 2013. Submissions should be addressed to the Director-General at the Department of Trade and Industry and can be sent via email for the attention of Ms V Gilbert to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rian Geldenhuys

© Trade Law Chambers 2013

Service providers access to the SADC market

Negotiations on the liberalisation of the Southern African Development Community (?SADC?) services market are progressing. Negotiations started in April 2012 and in August of the same year the negotiators agreed on an agreement, the SADC Protocol on Trade in Services. ,

The SADC Protocol on Trade in Services provides the framework for allowing service providers from any SADC member state to provide their services within the territories of other SADC member states. To be more precise, it will allow service providers from SADC member states better access to the services markets of other SADC members states than compared to the access (if at all) that service providers from non-SADC member states may have. , The SADC Protocol on Trade in Services does not fully regulate the manner in which the service providers may access the SADC market. Such regulation lies within the specific commitments made by each member state of SADC.

SADC member states have made very few commitments on services liberalisation. As such foreign service providers in currently operating within SADC markets may be open to expropriation of their investments or subject to discrimination as SADC member states may indeed resort to expropriation or discrimination if they have not made a commitment to the contrary. The specific commitments currently being negotiated amongst member states are aimed at allowing SADC service providers access to the SADC market and protect against expropriate or discrimination (or indeed define the limitations of expropriation or discrimination). This allows service providers access to the SADC market and allows service providers the opportunity to properly evaluate the potential risk involved in providing a service in another SADC member state.

The current negotiations on these specific commitments to be undertaken by SADC member states are limited to six priority sectors, being the communication, construction, energy, financial, tourism and transport sectors. It thus presents an opportunity for service providers in these sectors to become active in other SADC member states territories. From a South African perspective, South Africa has requested better access and treatment in all of the abovementioned sectors save for the energy sector. In contrast South Africa has only received requests for better access and treatment from other SADC member states in three sectors, namely the communication, transport and financial services sectors. These requests have been made by Lesotho, Swaziland and Mauritius.

Currently these requests are being evaluated by each of the SADC member states and offers are being finalised. Service providers are encouraged to keep an eye on any developments on this front and better yet, participate in the process so that their government may negotiate with the private sector's best interest in mind.

Rian Geldenhuys

© Trade Law Chambers 2013

Trade Law Glossary


ACCESSION A government joining the WTO. , , As part of the accession to the WTO pursuant to Article XII, , the acceding government , negotiates , concessions , and commitments relating to Market Access for Goods and Services with WTO Members.

ACPs Countries in Africa, the Caribbeans and the Pacific which benefit from preferential tariff treatment in the E.C. These tariff preferences were introduced under the Lom? Conventions (Lom? I ? Lom? IV), which were later replaced by the Cotonou Agreement. In terms of the Cotonou Agreement these tariff preferences had to be replaced with reciprocal, WTO compliant free trade agreements (Economic Partnership Agreements or ?EPAs') between the ACPs and the EC by 1 January 2008.

AD VALOREM DUTY An ad valorem duty is a customs tariff duty expressed as a percentage of the value of the imported goods (e.g. 10% of value). , In the case of specific duties (i.e. $2.00 per KG) it is necessary to calculate an ad valorem equivalent (AVE) which gives the equivalent level of the duty in percentage terms.

AD VALOREM EQUIVALENT (AVE) An ad valorem equivalent is the equivalent in percentage of a specific duty, mixed, compound or other duty containing a specific element. , An ad valorem equivalent is calculated for each customs duty that is not ad valorem. The AVE is calculated from the actual duty collection or from the unit value of imports. , For example, the AVE of a specific duty of $1.00 per KG levied on a product with a unit value of $10.00 per KG is equal to 10% ($1.00/$10.00).

AFRICAN GROWTH AND OPPORTUNITY ACT (AGOA) The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was signed into law on May 18, 2000. It is a US Trade Act that provides unilateral tariff preferences into the US market to 39 Sub-Saharan African countries. AGOA is an expansion of the existing (duty-free) benefits previously available only under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme. Together AGOA and the GSP programme provides duty-free access to the U.S. market for approximately 7,000 product tariff lines, including around 1,800 product tariff lines that were added to the GSP by the AGOA legislation.

AIRCRAFT AGREEMENT (ATCA) A Tokyo Round plurilateral agreement formally known as the "Agreement on Trade in Civil Aircraft". , This MTN agreement establishes an international framework governing the conduct of trade in civil aircraft. The agreement applies to all civil aircraft, civil aircraft engines and their parts and components and to ground flight simulators and their parts and components. , Signatories to the agreement agreed to eliminate customs duties and other charges levied on the importation of products for use in a civil aircraft in the course of its manufacture, repair, maintenance, rebuilding, modification or conversion. , Zero duties for all products covered by the agreement are incorporated by signatories in their respective GATT schedules. , The signatories established the Committee on Trade in Civil Aircraft composed of representatives of all signatories, for surveillance, review, consultation and dispute settlement.

ANTI DUMPING DUTIES Article VI of the GATT 1994 permits the use of anti dumping measures. , Such measures can be imposed on imports of a product with an export price below its "normal value" (usually the comparable price of the domestic market of the exporting country) if such dumped imports cause injury to a domestic industry in the importing country. , These anti-dumping measures take the form either of duties or undertakings on pricing by the exporter. , The duties levied on any dumped product should not be greater in amount than the margin of dumping (price difference).

APEC , see Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation

ARTICLE XXVIII Article XXVIII refers to the Article of the General Agreement which deals with the procedure to be followed when a contracting party intends to modify its Schedule. , In broad terms, Article XXVIII stipulates that a contracting party can withdraw or modify a concession in its GATT Schedule after negotiation and agreement with any contracting party with which the concession was originally negotiated and any contracting party which is recognized to have a principal or a substantial supplying interest with a view to offering compensation. Notifications of changes in GATT Schedules should include a list of items to be modified or withdrawn, accompanied by statistics of imports of the products involved, by country of origin, for the last three years for which statistics are available. , If specific, mixed or compound duties are affected, both values and quantities should be provided, if possible.

ASEAN , See Association of South East Asian Nations.

ASIAN-PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION (APEC) A Forum formed to achieve regional free trade and investment. , Member countries are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Republic of Korea, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH EAST ASIAN NATIONS (ASEAN) An Association establishing an interim agreement for the formation of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). Member countries are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodai, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

ATCA , See AIRCRAFT AGREEMENT (Agreement on Trade in Civil Aircraft)

AUTONOMOUS DUTY , See Statutory Duty

AVE , See Ad Valorem Equivalent

BARTER TRADE Contract by which an exporter accepts goods or services from the importer as payment for its exported products.

BILATERAL AVE An ad valorem equivalent of a specific duty calculated from the unit value of imports from an individual country. An AVE can be global (applying to all countries entitled to the duty) or bilateral.

BILATERAL QUOTA Limits on the value or quantity of a good which can be imported from or exported to a given partner or group of partners.

BINDING GATT Article II provides that signatories may "bind" tariff rates by including them in schedules annexed to the General Agreement. Once a duty is bound, it may not be raised above that bound level without compensating affected parties. If the actually applied rate is lower than the bound rate, the bound level of the duty rate is called a "ceiling" binding (see Ceiling Binding). , , If the binding does not cover all products in the tariff item the binding is "partial" and identified by "ex" in the GATT Schedules.


CEILING BINDING A binding is "ceiling" if the applied duty is lower than the bound duty. , The following example illustrates the difference between "ceiling" bindings and bindings at "prevailing" level.

CHAPTER The CCCN and the HS are structured nomenclatures. , The first two digits of CCCN and HS numbers represent the chapter level. The CCCN comprises 99 chapters and the HS 97 chapters. HS chapter 77 is not used at present.

COMMON EXTERNAL TARIFF A uniform tariff adopted by a customs union (e.g. the European Communities) to be assessed on imports entering a region from countries outside the union.

COMPOUND DUTY A compound duty is a tariff duty comprising an ad valorem duty to which is added or subtracted a specific duty: , , 10% plus $2.00/KG, , , 20% less $2.00/KG.

CONCESSION A tariff reduction, tariff binding or other agreement to reduce import restrictions: usually accorded pursuant to negotiation in return for concessions by other parties.

CONTRACTING PARTIES (CPs) , Those governments which were signatory to the GATT 1947 were known as contracting parties. Upon signing the new WTO agreements (which include the updated GATT, known as GATT 1994), they officially became known as ?WTO members?.

COUNTERVAILING DUTIES Article VI of the GATT 1994 permits the use of countervailing measures which are duties imposed by the importing country to offset the effect of the subsidy on the product in question.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN Individual supplying countries from which goods are imported are called "countries of origin".

CPs , See Contracting Parties.

C.U. , See Customs Union.

CUSTOMS UNION (C.U.) Substitution of a single customs territory for two or more customs territories, so that duties and other restrictive regulations of commerce are eliminated on substantially all the trade between the constituent territories of the union. The same duties and other regulations of commerce are applied by each member of the union to the trade of territories not included in the union.

DRAWBACK Repayment of import duties on a product re exported or used in the manufacture of goods to be exported.

DUTY (CUSTOMS) Tax levied at the border on imported goods. , Customs duties can be ad valorem, specific, mixed, compound, etc.

EAC see Eastern African Community

EASTERN AFRICAN COMMUNITY A regional intergovernmental organisation comprising of the Republics of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Republic of Rwanda and Republic of Burundi

ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN STATES (ECOWAS) A preferential trading arrangement between Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, C?te d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

ECOWAS , See Economic Community of West African States.

EFFECTIVELY APPLIED DUTY A customs duty which is lower than the statutory or bound duty. , The effectively applied duty can be for an undetermined period of time or for a limited period of time (temporary duty). , Effectively applied duties are sometimes passed by Parliament or decided on and put into effect by a government for economic reasons.

EFTA , See European Free Trade Association.

ESCALATION (TARIFF) Tariff escalation refers to the fact that, as a rule, tariffs on raw materials are lower than tariffs on semi manufactures, which in turn are lower than tariffs on finished products. Tariffs escalate with the stage of processing. In theory, a reduction of the tariff escalation entails a reduction of the effective protection.  , EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION (EFTA) A free trade area between Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. ,

EUROPEAN UNION A customs union between Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

EXCISE DUTY (also known as fiscal tax or revenue duty) , See Fiscal Tax.

EXPORT QUOTA Restraint imposed by an exporting country on the value or quantity of a product which can be exported.

EXPORT RESTRAINT A restriction by an exporting country of the quantity of exports to a specific importing country, established usually at the request of the importing country.

FISCAL TAX A tax which is levied on imported products as well as on domestically produced goods to generate revenue. , A fiscal tax is therefore not equivalent to a customs tariff duty since it has no protective effects. , Fiscal taxes are sometimes included in the customs tariff duties. ,

FORMULA APPROACH A tariff reduction negotiating method by which tariffs are reduced across the board using a mathematical formula agreed upon by participants.

FREE TRADE AREA (FTA) A group of two or more customs territories in which the duties and other restrictive regulations of commerce are eliminated on substantially all the trade between the constituent territories in products originating in such territories.

FTA , See Free trade area.

GATT ROUNDS Multilateral Trade Negotiations conducted under the GATT. , Eight rounds took place under the GATT 1947:

1947 Geneva, creation of the GATT 1949 Annecy, negotiations with countries wishing to accede to GATT. During this , round the focus was on tariff reductions. 1951 Torquay, new accessions and tariff reductions. 1956 Geneva, similar to previous rounds. 1960 1962 Geneva, the "Dillon Round". , Revision of the GATT and new accessions. 1964 1967 Geneva, the "Kennedy Round". , First time the formula approach was adopted , , (50% reduction, with exceptions) in addition to the traditional product by product approach. 1973 1979 Geneva, the "Tokyo Round". , Formula tariff reductions with a view to "harmonize" the levels of tariffs. , Agreements on the use of selected non tariff measures. 1986 1994 Geneva, the "UruguayRound". , Product by product approach by all participants, especially reciprocal offers and sectorial negotiations by a number of participants, to eliminate or harmonize duties in certain sectors ("zero for zero" approach). , Strengthening of the GATT and its expansion to new areas (services, counterfeit goods, etc.). , Active participation of developing countries offering extensively new bindings at "ceiling rates". , Use of the new concept of "credit for bindings" and "recognition of autonomous liberalization measures" for developing country participants. , New accessions to WTO. , Creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

GATT SCHEDULES OF CONCESSIONS All concessions negotiated in GATT negotiations are reported in the GATT legal instruments containing Schedules of concessions. , Each WTO Member incorporates its concessions in its own schedule. , (See also Loose-leaf Schedule)

GENERAL TARIFF General tariffs are the customs duties which apply in some countries to partners which are not members of the WTO. , The general duties are generally higher than the MFN duties.

GENERALIZED SYSTEM OF PREFERENCES (GSP) Generalized system of preferences offered unilaterally by developed/transition economies to developing countries. , GSP is accorded to developing countries by the following countries: Australia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Canada, Estonia, the European Union, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the Russian Federation, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States.

GSP , See Generalized System of Preferences.

HARMONIZED SYSTEM (HS) The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (known as the Harmonized System), instituted by the World Customs Organization in 1988, is an international product classification for customs tariffs and trade statistics. HS , See Harmonized System.

IMPORT LICENSING A procedure which must be followed by importers before they can import goods.

IMPORT SURCHARGE , A charge on imports, in addition to the customs duty.

INSTRUMENTS (WTO LEGAL) The results of tariff negotiations are published in the "WTO Legal Instruments" which contain all the Uruguay Round schedules.

ISO , International Organization for Standardization.  , LDC , See Least Developed Countries.

LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES (LDCs) The WTO recognizes as least-developed countries (LDCs) those countries which have been designated as such by the United Nations. There are currently 49 least-developed countries on the UN list, 32 of which to date have become WTO members.

LEGAL DUTY , See Statutory Duty

MARGIN OF PREFERENCE The difference between the duty paid on an MFN basis and the duty paid under a preferential system.

MARKET ACCESS The extent to which a market is accessible to foreign exporters depends on the existence and extent of trade barriers (tariff and non tariff). , In the Uruguay Round, a Group of Negotiations on Market Access was established to deal with: tariffs, non tariff measures, tropical products and natural resource based products. , Under the WTO, a Committee on Market Access has been established to deal with these issues.

MERCOSUR , See Southern Common Market.

MFA , See Multi Fibre Arrangement.

MFN , See Most Favoured Nation.

MIXED DUTY A mixed duty is a duty where a minimum or a maximum tariff protection is ensured by the choice between, in general, an ad valorem duty and a specific duty as in the following examples: 10% minimum $2.00/KG, 10% or $2.00/KG whichever is less, 10% maximum $2.00/KG, etc.

MOST FAVOURED NATION (MFN) With respect to customs duties, any advantage, favour, privilege or immunity granted by any contracting party to any product originating in or destined for any other country are accorded immediately and unconditionally to the like product originating from or destined for the territories of all other contracting parties, under the principle of MFN treatment. , GSP, FTA and other preferential trading arrangements are exceptions to the MFN treatment.

MTN , See Multilateral Trade Negotiations.

MULTI FIBRE ARRANGEMENT (MFA) The Arrangement Regarding International Trade in Textiles (known as the Multi Fibre Arrangement), which allowed countries to maintain discriminatory quantitative restrictions on imports of textiles and clothing, was terminated in 1994 with the entry into force of the World Trade Organization. , The WTO Agreement on Textiles and Clothing provided for a transitional period for integrating the textiles and clothing sector into the GATT 1994. , The Agreement on Textiles and Clothing and all restrictions thereunder terminated on January 1, 2005. The expiry of the ten-year transition period of ATC implementation means that trade in textile and clothing products is no longer subject to quotas under a special regime outside normal WTO/GATT rules but is now governed by the general rules and disciplines embodied in the multilateral trading system.

MULTILATERAL TRADE NEGOTIATIONS (MTN) Trade negotiations between GATT Members aiming at eliminating or reducing tariff and non tariff barriers. , The Uruguay Round was the eighth round of MTN under the GATT. The current WTO trade round, the Doha Round, was launched by WTO members in 2001.

NAFTA , See North America Free Trade Agreement

NATURE OF DUTIES Nature of duties or the duty nature refer to the different kinds of customs duty. , The duty nature can be an ad valorem, specific, compound, mixed, variable, "tariffied" or unclassified duty.

NOMENCLATURE A nomenclature is an agreed system for classifying goods according to defined criteria, and in given detail and order, by associating to product groups a number which is used by all parties which adopt the nomenclature.

NOMINAL PROTECTION The measurement of the nominal tariff protection relates the duty to the value of the imported product as opposed to the effective protection which relates the duty to the value added in manufacturing the product. ,

NON TARIFF MEASURES (NTM) , Measures other than tariffs which restrict imports or exports, such as quotas, import licensing systems, sanitary regulations, prohibitions, etc. Also known as non-tariff barriers.

NORTH AMERICA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT (NAFTA) Free-trade area agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States.  , NTB , Non Tariff Barrier.

NTM , Non Tariff Measure.

PARALLEL IMPORTS The importation of products produced legally (i.e. not pirated) abroad without the permission of the intellectual property right-holder (e.g. the trademark or patent owner). Some countries do not allow parallel importation.


PEAKS (TARIFF) A customs tariff contains tariff peaks if it is relatively homogeneous but contains in selected sectors high tariffs compared to the overall average tariff. , During the Uruguay Round, tariff peaks were defined as duties over 15%.

PLURILATERAL (CONSULTATIONS OR NEGOTIATIONS) Several participants involved in consultations or negotiations among themselves.

POST-URUGUAY DUTY , See Pre-Uruguay and Post-Uruguay Duty

PREFERENCES Special trade advantages (e.g. tariff preferences) granted by a government to some of its trading partners to promote trade with them.

COMMON MARKET FOR EASTERN AND SOUTHERN AFRICA (COMESA) A preferential trade area between Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. 13 of the COMESA members are part of the COMESA free trade area.

QR , See Quantitative Restriction.

QUANTITATIVE RESTRICTIONS (QRs) Restrictions which limit the value or quantity of goods which can be imported or exported during a given period.

ROUNDS of Multilateral Trade Negotiations , see GATT ROUNDS

RULES OF ORIGIN Regulations to define a country of origin of goods in international trade. , A country must satisfy the rules of origin to be considered as the country of origin of goods for the purpose of obtaining MFN treatment or preferential treatment.

SAFEGUARD A special safeguard may be invoked in specific cases to partly offset a significant decline in import prices or a surge in the volume of imports.

SANITARY AND PHYTOSANITARY MEASURES (SPS) Food safety and animal and plant health measures. These measures are regulated in the WTO in terms of the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.

SITC , See Standard International Trade Classification.

SCHEDULE OF CONCESSIONS , See GATT Schedule of concessions

SECTIONS HS chapters are logically grouped in sections representing groups of products. , There are 21 HS sections.

SOUTHERN AFRICAN CUSTOMS UNION (SACU) A customs union between South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland. SACU is the oldest customs union in the world.

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY (SADC) A preferential trading agreement between Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Twelve of its members established a Free Trade Area in 2008 under the SADC Trade Protocol.

SOUTHERN COMMON MARKET (MERCOSUR) An interim agreement for the formation of a customs union between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

SPECIFIC DUTY A specific duty is a customs duty which is not related to the value of the imported goods but to the weight, volume, surface, etc. of the goods. , The specific duty stipulates how many units of currency are to be levied per unit of quantity (e.g. 2.00 Swiss Francs per KG).

STANDARD INTERNATIONAL TRADE CLASSIFICATION (SITC) The SITC is a classification developed by the United Nations for statistical analysis of trade data. , In the SITC, articles are grouped by classes of goods such as food, raw materials, chemicals, machinery and transport equipment and also by stage of fabrication and by industrial origin. The SITC was first revised in 1960 (Revision 1) to match the Customs Co operation Council nomenclature (CCCN). A second revision was established to match the revised version of the CCCN, in 1972. , The third revision was established in 1985 to match the HS.

STATUTORY DUTY , A customs duty which is generally a Customs Tariff Law voted by Parliament. , The statutory duty is also referred to as the autonomous or legal duty. The published customs tariff generally report the statutory duty. , For WTO Members, the statutory duty cannot be higher than the GATT bound duty.

SUBSIDIES Any form of income or price support granted by a country, which serves to increase exports of any product from or reduce imports of any product into its territory.


TARIFFICATION Conversion of border measures, other than ordinary customs duties, to tariff equivalents of non-tariff measures. , As part of the Uruguay Round Market Access for agricultural products, all non-tariff border measures were "tariffied" by participants before a tariff reduction was made.

TARIFFIED , See Tariffication

TARIFF LINE National customs tariffs contain a list of all products which can be imported. , Within the tariff, products are grouped according to the material they are made of, or according to the industrial sector to which they pertain either as input or as output materials (HS six-digit headings). , Within those product groups customs tariffs contain as many tariff lines as there are different levels of customs duties. , In other words, each duty rate is attached to a tariff line.

TARIFF QUOTA A tariff applying to goods imported within a limit in value or quantity. , A higher tariff applies to goods imported above the quota.

TROPICAL PRODUCTS This trade area refers to agricultural and other products exported by developing countries in tropical climates. , In the Uruguay Round, tropical products included the following product sectors: tropical beverages, spices, flowers and plants, planting products, etc., certain oilseeds, vegetable oils and products thereof, tropical roots, rice and tobacco, tropical nuts and fruits, rubber and tropical wood, and jute and hard fibres.

 , UNBOUND DUTIES A customs duty rate is unbound if it was never subject to a tariff concession during any GATT round of tariff negotiations (see BINDING).

VARIABLE DUTY A variable duty is a duty relating the customs duty collection to the price of the imported products. , For example, a variable duty could be the price difference between the unit value of the imported product and the unit value of the equivalent product produced domestically in the import market. , If the price of the imported goods is lower than the internal price, a variable duty is levied.


WORLD CUSTOMS ORGANIZATION (WCO) An international body located in Brussels through which participating countries seek to simplify and rationalize customs procedures. , WCO is responsible for all issues related to the nomenclature and classification of products. , This institution was formerly called the Customs Co-operation Council.

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