South Africa - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Barriers

Includes the barriers (tariff and non-tariff) that U.S. companies face when exporting to this country.

Last published date: 2020-10-01

U.S. companies have cited protective tariffs as a barrier to trade in South Africa. Non-tariff barriers to trade include port congestion, technical standards, customs valuation above invoice prices, theft of goods, import permits, antidumping measures, violations of intellectual property rights (IPR), an inefficient bureaucracy, and excessive regulation.

In 2015, South Africa agreed to a Tariff-Rate Quota (TRQ) with the United States to allow the import of 65,000 tons per year of bone-in chicken leg quarters free of the anti-dumping duties.  South Africa first imposed anti-dumping duties on U.S. chicken leg quarters in 2000, and renewed the duties through reviews in 2006, 2011, and 2017. Half of the quota is reserved for historically disadvantaged importers (HDIs). All imports of U.S. chicken require a health certificate from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, and bone-in leg quarters require a quota permit from the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC). 

For additional information on trade barriers for the Southern Africa Customs Union that includes South Africa, please see the National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers published by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative at:

https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/reports-and-publications/2017/2017-national-trade-estimate

In 2014 the Government of South Africa issued an affirmative final determination in its antidumping investigation involving imports of disodium carbonate (soda ash) from the United States. The South African Customs Tariff heading for this product is 2836.20.00. Soda ash is used in the manufacture of glass, paper, rayon, soaps, and detergents. It is also used as a water softener, stain remover and bonding agent. According to the schedule published by the South African Revenue Service, definitive antidumping duties imposed on U.S. imports of soda ash range from 8% to 40% as follows:


Tata Chemicals Partners Inc:  8%

OCI Chemical Corporation:  21%

All Others:  40%

While the penalty and market size are negligible for ANSAC, this may constitute a possible international precedent in relation to price fixing. South Africa is the only developing country that has effectively prohibited ANSAC.

According to Global Trade Atlas, South African imports of the merchandise under investigation were valued at $22.8 million in 2013, of which approximately $20 million (86%) was from the United States. 

ITAC is tasked with administering South African trade laws and therefore receives requests for tariff protection from several local industries. For additional information on ITAC’s responsibilities (tariff administration, trade remedies, and import and export controls) please visit its website at: http://www.itac.org.za.