Trade Policy

Trade Policy - Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL)

Country of Origin Labelling was originally incorporated under the Merchandise Marks Act.
CoOL is compulsory in South Africa in terms of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). Which superceded and incorpoated the former merchandise marks Act. This includes footwear made in South Africa, as well as footwear that is imported. For further information refer to the Consumer Protection Act (CPA)

Bilateral Agreements

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Trade Agreement Currently footwear can be imported duty free into South Africa and exported duty free to SADC member states.

Currently Seychelles has applied for access and negotiations are at an advanced stage. The Footwear Industry's interests regarding exports to Seychelles were represented as Seychelles wanted to introduce import control on various footwear categories.

If you would like to view the SADC Trade Agreement, (click here) (Click on SADC Trade Agreement)

The European Union Trade Development and Cooperation Agreement (SA-EU TDCA) Currently footwear has duty free access but the imports from the EU only enjoy partial preferential duty rates.

If you would like to view the Customs Tariff Book, (click here) (Chapters 1 – 99)

Mercosur Agreement (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uraguay and Venezuela) The Agreement is a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA). The Agreement still requires ratification by several countries. Footwear has been excluded from the Agreement as a sensitive industry.

European Free Trade Association (EFTA) - Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland Currently footwear has duty free access but the imports from the EU only enjoy partial preferential duty rates.The Preferential Rates for entry into South Africa are being phased in as EFTA was concluded subsequent to the EU TDCA.

Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) South Africa is currently negotiating with the EU regarding EPA which includes the African Carribean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States. EPA replaced the Lomé Convention. This affected South Africa as its South African Customs (SACU) members Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia& Swaziland (BLNS) also enjoyed benefits under Lomé. Some SACU member states have signed the EPA Agreement. However, Namibia and South Africa are negotiating core issues. If Agreement is reached EPA will supercede the EU TDA.

Multilateral Negotiations

World Trade Organisation (WTO) Currently negotiations are on hold as a result of the divide between developed and developing countries.

The Doha rand may be concluded in Barley later this year, with smaller issues being agreed, such as: common internal standards for customs management and control, and CoOL.

Unilateral Agreements

The African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) AGOA provides for duty free access to the US market for sub-Saharan African countries. Currently South Africa enjoys these benefits, however, there are political lobbyists in the US that feel that South Africa should not enjoy the same benefits as the less developed countries in Africa by virtue of its per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The South African government is busy assisting industry in motivating for continued benefits for South Africa and for the continuation of the AGOA benefit in general.

If you would like to view AGOA, click on (click here) (Click on AGOA)

New Agreement


Negotiations are currently underway for either a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) or Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA). In general, the majority of South African business is opposed to any access to the South African market for India. This has caused a slowdown in the negotiations. Footwear interests are being strongly represented in this process.

Tripartite Free Trade Agreement Negotiations are currently underway between the South African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern & Southern Africa (COMESA) and East African Community (EAC). At the moment the Rules of Origin are being negotiated as one of the prime instruments for the functioning of this Agreement. Other issues such as phase-in periods etc. are also under discussion. Currently South Africa is developing its defensive position.

Trade Policy

SAFLIA represents the industry at various institutions concerned with trade issues. The main area is trade negotiations which are dealt with at The National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC), at its sub-committee known as The Technical Sectorial Liaison Committee (Teselico).

For more information click on the link below: Link:

SAFLIA is represented at Teselico through its membership of The South African Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SACCI). As a result of our membership with SACCI, we are also included in the Business Trade Unity South Africa (BUSA) Trade Policy Committee.

With regard to trade negotiations, there are 2 forms, namely; multilateral arrangements and bilateral arrangements. The multilateral arrangements primarily involve negotiations at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Bilateral arrangements involve direct negotiations with specific countries. Recently the majority of these Agreements are developed as a South African Customs Union (SACU) position. SACU comprises the Republic of Botswana, then Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of South Africa and the Kingdom of Swaziland.

Developments regarding the various trade agreement negotiations are summarised in the specific categories.

Illegal Imports

Customs Training

An arrangement exists with a training professional to train Customs Officials at the various key border posts on product knowledge regarding footwear. Contact information:

  • Jannie Kriel
  • Customs Training
  • 082-852-3257