Customs duties

Customs duties are imposed by the Customs and Excise Act 91 of 1964. They are levied on imported goods with the aim of raising revenue and protecting the local market. They are usually calculated as a percentage of the value of the goods (set in the schedules to the Customs and Excise Act). However meat, fish, tea, certain textile products and certain firearms attract rates of duty calculated either as a percentage of the value or as cents per unit (for example, per kilogram or metre).
Additional ad valorem customs duties are levied on a wide range of luxury or non-essential items such as perfumes, firearms and arcade games. See the Reference guide to ad valorem excise duty.

What duties are levied on imported goods?

Three kinds of duties are levied on imported goods:
  • Customs duties (including additional ad valorem duties on certain luxury or non-essential items);
  • Anti-dumping and countervailing duties
  • VAT (which is also collected on goods imported and cleared for home consumption).

Anti-dumping and countervailing duty

Anti-dumping and countervailing duties are levied:
  • On goods considered to be “dumped” in South Africa; and
  • On subsidised imported goods.
These goods are the subject of investigations into pricing and export incentives in the country of origin; the rate imposed will depend on the result of the investigations. These duties are either levied on an ad valorem basis (as a percentage of the value of the goods) or as a specific duty (as cents per unit).
The amount and type of duty imposed on a product is determined by the following main criteria:
  • The value of the goods (the customs value)
  • The volume or quantity of the goods
  • The tariff classification of the goods (the tariff heading).