Export Resource Directory

Starting an export venture, or running any successful export enterprise, requires a fair amount of help and insight from industry leaders and peers.

To make finding the help you need easier, we’ve compiled the most sought-after sources of export assistance and information into one directory. Click to expand any of the resources and oraganisations listed  below and learn about the assistance it can offer.

General and international export resources

The ITC stretches over 176 countries and offers unparalleled access to industry specific trade data, business introductions, networking opportunities, education, insights, and government advocacy.

How can they help?

Besides offering market-specific webinars, marketing opportunities and an international trade directory, the International Trade Council offers a Contact List Building service. Making use of this service means exporters receive a detailed report listing researched, qualified leads in their intended market.

A lot of ITC services and resources are available to members only, but annual membership is significantly discounted for small companies (19 employees or less) based in emerging markets like South Africa. The current discounted rate in this case is US$100.

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is a established and respected organisation with the function of managing fair practice in international trade. The ICC is responsible for some important tools that have become essential to how we import and export, including Incoterms, the ATA Carnet, and the Rules of Arbitration.

South Africa has a national Chamber of Commerce committee called SACCI, as well as local chapters who operate within their own region.

How can they help?

South African traders are encouraged to join their local Chamber of Commerce for access to networking opportunities and endorsement of their company. Resources like talks, mentoring and training are also available depending on the chapter.

Read more about the Chamber of Commerce and find your local chapter in this article.

The Chamber of Commerce also offers its own certificates of origin to exporters. These certificates are not affiliated with trade agreements and therefore have no financial benefit. Their function is to prove origin for the importer’s peace of mind when a commodity has inherent value due to its origin. E.g. Real South African wine or real Italian leather.

To obtain Chamber of Commerce certificates of origin for your exports, click here.

Trade fairs are large events where companies showcase their products to generate orders.

Attending such an event can be a significant investment, which is why so many of the resources listed here offer financial or practical assistance in getting exporters through the door. A recent uptake in online trade fairs has however made attending easier.

How can they help?

These events are generally industry specific and attended by serious buyers looking for innovative suppliers, i.e. an ideal marketplace to meet qualified leads.

Before they can attend an international trade event, exporters must first be aware of what is happening on the global calendar. Helpful directories that list both “live” trade fairs and online events are TradeFairDates.com, 10times.com and EventsEye.com.

E-commerce is generally understood as a B2C market, but there are many online marketplaces specialised in offering goods online at wholesale or B2B level. These sites play an important role in how modern traders locate suppliers and source goods.

How can they help?

A lot of online marketplaces offer supplier verification which means buyers can have more confidence in an unfamiliar supplier they find here as opposed to via the company’s own marketing. Getting listed in a directory is dependent on its policies and industry focus. Africa.tradeholding.com is specifically geared towards making African companies and products available to the world.

Find more online marketplaces where can offer you products listed in this article.

A trade agreement is an agreement between two or more nations on how they will work together to boost each other’s economies through trade. Generally, this means reduced or no duties on one-another’s imports. South Africa is a member of seven standing trade agreements, namely SADC FTA, SADC-EU EPA, SACU-EFTA FTA, MERCOSUR-SACU PTA, AGOA and GSP.

How can they help?

Each of these trade agreements allows for qualifying goods of South African origin to be imported into other countries at a lower rate of duty compared to goods from non-member countries, thereby stimulating our export market. To learn more about trade agreements relevant to your exports and how to benefit, read this article.

To allow buyers preferential rates of duty, a shipment must be accompanied with the appropriate certificate of origin. By nature, the responsibility of supplying this document lies with the exporter.

Click here to obtain certificates of origin for your exports.

Before targeting a foreign marketplace, exporters must understand the unique risks involved. Looking at risk helps exporters decern the level of investment they can expect for breaking into a new market and helps with comparing markets relative to what we see in our local economy.

How can they help?

The Official Export Credit Guarantee Scheme (OEDC) use a highly regarded system of assessment to assign participating countries a risk classification. These classifications are updated regularly.  Reports, as well as insight into what each classification means, can be found on the OECD website.

Another helpful risk assessor is AM Best, an insurance analyst based in the United States who reports on national and segmented risk. The AM Best website offers a myriad of market and demographic reports. The Country Risk Information page is especially helpful as you can download reports with detailed demographic and economic data per country. Some information requires registering on the site, but there are no fees. Bear in mind the data is given from an insurance market point of view.

Exporters should make a point of understanding Customs regulations in their foreign target market, as well the duties levied on their goods. Doing so creates a better understanding of their buyer’s position.

How can they help?

The first step to determining tariff and regulations is knowing what HS classification applies to the goods once it reaches the importers country. The relevant HS code can be found in the tariff book belonging to the country of import. You can start by determining the HS classification of your goods according to the South African tariff book as the first 6 digits apply internationally and will always be the same.

Tariff books of the main global markets:





European Union





Saudi Arabia

South Korea

United Kingdom

United States of America


Some countries require imported shipments to be accompanied with a certificate of conformity stating that the goods are of an industry accepted nature and standard.

How can they help?

Certificates of Conformity protect developing economies with limited port inspection infrastructure from accepting dangerous, sub-standard or counterfeit products. This in turn protects domestic industry from unfair competition of poor-quality imports.

Where a Certificate of Conformity is required it is the exporter’s responsibility to comply. To check whether your export requires a certificate of conformity and to obtain the correct inspections and documentation, click here.

Exporting to Africa

This reporting, monitoring, and eliminating mechanism is run by the African Continental Free Trade Area and focusses on removing non-tariff barriers in African trade.

How can they help?

Border regulations and delays between African nations are notoriously difficult to anticipate. Via the Tradebarriers Africa website exporters can report any obstacle encountered when trading goods across intra-African borders. This may include excessive delays, ad hoc fees at the border, cumbersome document requirements, restrictive product standards and regulations etc. The online mechanism is open to all African business sectors.

How can they help?

BA and TA Permits will be needed when delivering goods in Botswana and a neighboring country. Wakati Group offers registration for Botswana Road Transport Permits, including:

  • BA Permits: Transporters off-loading in Botswana, needed to convey and deliver goods in Botswana.
  • TA Permits: Transporters transit Botswana to other Countries, needed when transiting through Botswana into another SADC country.
  • Abnormal Permits for Botswana: Requirement for all abnormal loads into/transiting Botswana to another SADC country.

Get in contact via the Wakati Group website to begin registration.

Exporting to Unites States of America

This program funded by USAID, focuses on enhancing trade between Southern African nations and America according to AGOA. Although the priority export countries include Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia, the program recognizes that global investors use South Africa as their first stop for further investments into the region.

The main sectoral focus for USAID TradeHub is on specialty food, agricultural commodities, textiles and apparel.

How can they help?

The USAID website is a great source of webinars, guides, and other helpful resources focussed on importing into Africa via South Africa, exporting out of Africa via South Africa for and exporting to The Unites States.

Global Import Agent, Inc. is led by an internationally experienced team of PCQI (Preventive Controls Qualified Individuals) and FDA food safety compliance legal experts. They act as a US Agent for FSVP (Foreign Supplier Verification Program) purposes, which will ensure your international human and animal food products meet stringent US quality requirements.

How can they help?

They can guide you through FDA regulations, facilitating product entry into the United States. They also handle challenges, including FDA detentions and rejections.

Contact details:

+44 (0) 20 4519 6314

+1 (415) 871 0682


Exporting to Europe

SIPPO is a well-established mandate of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), with the overall vision of sustainable and inclusive economic growth and integration of SIPPO partner countries (which includes RSA) into world trade. They achieve this by partnering with various Business Support Organizations to increase their export promotion capacity.

They are currently active in the Processed Foods and Natural Ingredients sectors in South Africa, because we are an international player in canned fruit and vegetables, fruit juices and concentrates, dried fruit and nuts, as well as essential and vegetable oils and extracts and other natural ingredients.

How can they help?

In collaboration with its partners, SIPPO identifies and participates in targeted international trade promotion events and activities. With the aim of promoting and increasing the export of processed food and natural ingredients from South Africa, all activities with partner organisations have a strong focus on bringing companies to selling platforms and connecting exporters and importers.

SIPPO also connects South African traders in relevant sectors to study tours and on-site visits, matchmaking and networking activities, buyer-seller meetings, training opportunities, workshops and various conferences.

South African export resources

The DTIC is a department of government focused on ensuring South African trade is globally competitive, economically strong, and politically fair.

How can they help?

The DTIC has an extensive Trade and Export division aimed at assisting South African enterprises enter the international market.

Their Export Development and Promotion program offers great resources for new exporters such as an Export Readiness Assessment, an Export Helpdesk based in Pretoria, export training and a Trade Lead Bulletin reporting on current export opportunities.

The South African government offers South African entrepreneurs who want to export financial grants through the Export Marketing & Investment Assistance scheme.

How can they help?

The EMIA’s purpose is to help develop new and grow existing export markets for South African products and services, and to attract foreign direct investment. The EMIA does this by assisting South African traders with funding, marketing, market research, product prep for international markets and foreign investment missions.

Learn more about export grants and how to apply for trade funding in this article.

SEDA is an agency of the Department of Small Business Development mandated to develop, support and promote small enterprises throughout South Africa, ensuring the growth and sustainability of the small business sector.

How can they help?

SEDA offer an Export Development Program aimed at the development of export-ready small enterprises. The program includes training, workshops, and promotional support. To take part in the program potential exporters must get in touch with SEDA and meet the qualifying criteria.

Catalyze offers companies the opportunity to participate at leading International trade events. Through incentives schemes, direct contact with international embassies, and agreements with international event organisers Catalyse can get exporters to key markets to meet targeted buyers for their products.

How can they help?

Attending a foreign trade event poses numerous challenges in logistics, transport of demo models, stand setup, translation, and accommodation. Catalyze have expertise and connections in all these fields across the globe and can therefore ensure your trade fair attendance goes off without a hitch. They can even showcase your product on your behalf if you are not able to attend.

Keep an eye on their website for upcoming international events in your industry.

When an exporter secures a large order from a new customer, getting the capital to buy supplies, raw materials, or products to deliver on the order can be a problem. Being unbale to accept large orders, in turn, restricts exporting companies from growing past their financial limitation.

Purchase order funding is a means of financing what the exporter needs to fulfil the order until the buyer has paid. In other words, a loan.

How can they help?

A purchase order loan bridges the gap between accepting and order and getting paid, and has the advantage of being faster and easier to obtain than a traditional bank loan. These loans are based on the creditworthiness of your buyer and your business.

To learn more and apply for purchase order funding, click here.

Industry specific support

Many of South Africa’s industries have councils and associations who’s goal is to promote investment, upliftment and trade fairness in their relevant sector.

How can they help?

Every industry has export challenges unique to its wares. Connecting with an industry specific association offers access to members facing the same difficulties and who may have experience-based knowledge to share, as well as a platform to voice concerns within the relevant industry.

Associationfinder.co.za is an excellent directory of South African councils, organisations, and associations. Use the search function on their home page to find active groups relevant to your industry.

Regulatory bodies

The Cosmetic Export Council of South Africa (CECOSA) is a Section 21, non-profit organisation and has a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) with the Department of Trade and Industry (the DTIC)

How can they help?

The CECOSA’s mission is to to facilitate and assist export opportunities for the South African cosmetic, toiletry, fragrance and pharmaceutical industries. Membership to the council means you are privy to information on regulations, trade barriers and solutions for getting you product on the export market.

Visit cecosa.co.za for more information.

SAHPRA is an entity of the National Department of Health, created by the South African Government to ensure that the health and well-being of humans and animals is according to standard. All medical, veterinary pharmaceutical and nutraceutical consumables, as well as devices used in these fields must be licensed by SAHPRA for local distribution, import and/or export.

How can they help?

For applications to export a locally manufactured product that requires SAPHRA registration, go to sahpra.org.za. We can also assist by advising you on regulations, requirements for registration and obtaining export permission. For more information on this service, speak to our consultants.

Provincial export resources

Eastern Cape

Exporters Eastern Cape is a non-profit organisation which support new and existing exporters with networking events and by facilitating collaboration within the Eastern Cape’s export market.

How can they help?

Membership to this organisation grants exporters access to a broad spectrum of professional contacts derived from the freight, financial and shipping industries, as well as industry specific networking opportunities.

The ECDC Trade Promotion Unit, in conjunction with provincial and national partners, is directly involved in providing trade opportunities to export-ready Eastern Cape businesses by means of non-financial support.

How can they help?

The ECDC provides small and medium-sized export ready companies, based in the Eastern Cape, with opportunities to access regional and global trade markets. Once a company has been assessed and is regarded as being export- ready, the ECDC Trade Promotion Unit facilitates annual trade missions, exhibitions and thematic workshops to offer networking platforms, training and access to prospective clients in foreign markets.

Free State

The FDC is the official agency responsible for driving economic development in the Free State.

How can they help?

Besides compiling an exporter database, the FDC Export Promotion Division assists exporters with market research, acquiring trade leads, and attending trade fairs.


The GGDA’s key purpose is to develop the economy of Gauteng through facilitation of trade and investment and increased strategic economic infrastructure.

How can they help?

Their website includes a helpful directory of trade resources, as well as a helpdesk to assist exporters with trade leads and export readiness.


TIKZN is a trade and inward investment promotion agency established to promote the province of KwaZulu-Natal as an investment destination, and to facilitate trade by assisting KZN-based companies to access international markets.

How can they help?

TIKZN assists exporters with required documentation and knowledge relevant to their shipments. In addition, they provide trade finance opportunities, training via an Emerging Exporter Programme and various networking solutions.


LEDA is an implementing agency of the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET) – a department of the Limpopo Provincial Government.

How can they help?

LEDA’s Trade and Investment Promotion division offers inward and outward trade missions, technical assistance and lead generating activities to exporters situated within Limpopo.


MEGA’s function is to increase local and international investment in Mpumalanga.

How can they help?

The agency’s trade promotion division connects exporters based in Mpumalanga to foreign trade missions, training opportunities and market information.

Northern Cape

This governmental department runs a Trade and Investment Promotion programme aimed at attracting foreign investments, growing exports and marketing the business image of the Northern Cape.

How can they help?

Besides their Trade and Investment Promotion programme, the department runs a Small Business Development and Sector Development initiative, among others. Specific contact persons are allocated to each function.

North West

NWDC is targeting current North West exporters and export-ready companies and those preparing to enter the export market to facilitate export preparation and readiness.

How can they help?

The NWDC together with DTI, SEDA, municipalities and other partner organisations offer tailor-made exporter development programmes.

Western Cape

Wesgro’s purpose is to grow the value of exports from Cape Town and the Western Cape. To give effect to this, it supports exporters from the Western Cape to reach new markets by facilitating trade opportunity.

How can they help?

The Wesgro trade-facilitation programme is designed to provide opportunities for Western Cape-based exporters to meet potential customers and conclude business deals. They are well connected in all major Western Cape industries and undertake between 40 and 45 international trade missions each year. These are usually in the form of attending trade exhibitions or outward selling missions.

Export training and international mentorship, as well as business seminars, knowledge sharing, and networking events are also regularly available.

The Exporters Club assists participating members of the business community by hosting monthly functions. Here members are updated regarding commercial or financial current events taking place within the global marketplace.

How can they help?

Members are given a platform to voice their concerns or give input on a variety of topics relative to export by networking with major role players within the industry. These include governmental agencies and trade associations.

Export tools

Consult the following free tools and guides provided on our website for the sake of making your exports as simple and straight forward as possible:

Dimensional Weight Calculator – to determine the dimensional (volumetric) weight of your shipment.

Export Prohibited and Regulated Items Look Up – to check for South African permits and other regulatory implications relevant to your exports.

EUR.1 Certificate Guide – to correctly complete a EUR.1 certificate.

Export Readiness Checklist – to confirm everything regarding your export is in order before you ship.

Guide to VAT on Exports – to check when to and when not to charge VAT on your international orders.

Guide to Incoterms – to compare different Incoterms you can use to specify the risk, cost and responsibilities between you and your buyer relevant to fulfilling an order.

Guide to international payment methods – to decide what payment terms you are comfortable offering your buyers.

Guide to comparing freight quotes – to ensure you are getting the best freight rates for fulfilment of large international orders.

Guide to marine and cargo insurance – to help assess what cover to purchase if you are the party responsible for insuring a shipment.

Market Research Guide – to help in determining whether an export opportunity is viable.

Packing guidelines – to ensure your goods reach you buyer in good order.

SADC Certificate Guide – to correctly complete a SADC certificate.

Tariff Code Look Up – to determine the HS classification relevant to your exports.

Time Zone Converter – to check when buyers and leads are contactable.

UN Dangerous Goods List – to check whether your exports classify as dangerous goods and therefore require specific packing and labelling. Relevant labels can be found in our Dangerous Goods Label Library and the protocol for declaring dangerous cargo can be found here.

The first step in any export venture is getting you, or your company, registered as an exporter at SARS customs. Contact us now for a quick and easy, no-fuss customs import export license registration. Our friendly and knowledgeable consultants are ready to assist.