How South African exporters benefit from EUR.1 certificates

The benefit of EUR.1 certificates

Want to start exporting products to Europe? As a South African exporter, you may be eligible to benefit from one or more of the trade agreements between Europe and South Africa. These trade agreements, and their accompanying EUR.1 certificates, are explained in more detail below.

1. EFTA-SACU

The EFTA-SACU is a free-trade agreement between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland), and the South African Customs Union (SACU) member states (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Eswatini). This agreement entered into force on 1 May 2008. EFTA-SACU makes use of asymmetric tariff dismantling, which means that the EFTA states liberalised trade in goods in all fields upon entry into force, whereas the SACU states where granted time to gradually liberalise trade on all industrial products. This asymmetrical negotiation is designed to protect vulnerable countries and industries, and is reflective of the varying degrees of economic development of member states.

  • Products covered: Industrial goods (including fish and other marine products) and processed agricultural products. Basic agricultural products are covered by agreements with individual EFTA States.
  • Benefits: EFTA countries charge reduced import tariffs on SACU-origin products.

2. SADC-EU EPA

The SADC-EU EPA is an economic partnership agreement (EPA) between the EU member states and the SADC member states (Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Eswatini). In more general terms, EPA’s are trade and development agreements between the EU and African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) partners that are working towards regional economic integration. EPA’s aim to promote ACP-EU trade and thus contribute to sustainable development and poverty reduction. Each EPA is designed to suit the ACP partner’s individual regional circumstances. Under these agreements, EU markets are opened fully and immediately upon entry into force, while ACP countries are granted extended transition periods to partially open up to EU imports. EPA’s also provide protection for sensitive industries (such as infant industries or key local industries). Rules of origin determine which products can benefit from reduced or removed customs duties.

3. SACUM-UK EPA

Since leaving the European Union, the UK has instated a new trade agreement with SACU and Mozambique called the SACUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement. This is because exports to the UK will no longer receive duty benefit under the standing trade agreement with the EU, called the SADC-EU EPA, post-Brexit. Like the SADC-EU agreement, the SACUM-UK EPA offers bilateral benefit, which means:

  • South African imports from the UK may incur less or zero import duties thanks to SACUM-UK, providing the UK supplier includes a EUR.1 certificate of origin with the shipment. The preferential duty rates are listed in the EU column of the South African tariff book.
  • South African exports to the UK also incur less or zero import duties at UK Customs, providing the South African exporter supplies a valid EUR.1 certificate.

What about the TDCA?

The Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA), which entered into full force in 2004, used to be the main agreement that governed trade between the EU and SADC states. However, since the SADC-EU EPA entered into force, it has repealed or replaced many of the provisions outlined in the TDCA. You can find out about all the affected provisions in Protocol 4 of the SADC-EU EPA. One of the biggest changes is that since entry into force of the SADC-EU EPA, all trade and trade-related provisions outlined in the TDCA, except Article 31 on Marine transport, are no longer in effect.

  • Products covered: Agricultural products (including fish and other marine products) and industrial goods.
  • Benefits: 100% free access to the EU market for Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Eswatini (with the exception of arms and munitions); full or partial removal of customs duties on 98.7% of South African imports to the EU; full or partial removal of customs duties on 86% of SACU imports to the EU; and full or partial removal of customs duties on 74% of Mozambican imports to the EU.

The SADC-EU EPA implements asymmetric liberalisation, which means that the SADC states do not have to match the EU’s market openness levels, but can instead select to keep tariffs on products that are sensitive to international competition.

How to benefit from these trade agreements

EUR.1 movement certificates form part of both trade agreements. If you want to benefit from the reduced import duty tax under these agreements, you can present a EUR.1 certificate along with each export. Reduced or exempt duties mean you can sell your product for a better price, which makes it a more sought-after product in the export market.

EUR.1 certificates protect the buyer (importer) by serving as proof of origin. The certificates state that the exported goods were either wholly or partly manufactured in South Africa.

How do I apply for EUR.1 certificates?

To apply for a EUR.1 certificate, you must first register at Customs as an EFTA-SACU or a SADC-EU EPA exporter. If you would like to find out if you are registered, contact our offices on 087 550 1038.

To order a pack of EUR1 certificates, fill in this form on our website or contact us on the number above.

If you would like to learn more about the other South African trade agreements you can benefit from, read our blog post on Trade Agreements & Certificates of Origin.