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EAC proposal for duty-free footwear rebuffed

Published: 30th Jan 2017
Author: Tony Dickson - S&V Editor
Johannesburg (SA) – SAFLIA has so far successfully lobbied against a proposal by the East African Community (EAC) that footwear trade between it and South Africa through the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) be zero-rated. Following ongoing negotiations at NEDLAC, the standard 30% duty, which applies to all footwear imports, remains in place and SAFLIA requested that the SACU’s report on the proposal lists footwear as “sensitive”.
        The duty on imports of raw, crust or tanned bovine or equine hides and skins from the EAC into SACU remains at 10%, “subject to negotiations”, according to the SACU report. Ostrich leather, which carries a 30% import duty, is labelled as “sensitive” by SACU.
        Leather goods are not mentioned in the report.
        “It’s not the EAC’s own manufacturing industry that concerns us,” SAFLIA executive director Jirka Vymetal said. “For instance, we’re aware that Chinese manufacturers are growing in Ethiopia and suspect they could take advantage of trade agreements i.e. Through COMESA or the Tripartite FTA ( Free Trade Agreement) of which negations are also ongoing.
        “There is also the issue of policing imports landing in the EAC and being forwarded to South Africa under the SACU agreement from there.”
        The EAC includes Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. SACU is made up of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.
        COMESA includes Ethiopia and 18 other countries.
Monitoring negotiations at the National Economic Development & Labour Council (NEDLAC) has become part of SAFLIA’s operations, primarily to protect and promote the industry.
©2017 S&V Publications
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