Another feature filled WCO News e-publication featuring Blockchain big time!
Another feature filled WCO News e-publication featuring Blockchain big time!
The Indian Customs department (CBEC) has allowed self-sealing procedure as of 1 October for containers to be exported, as it aims to move towards a ‘trust based compliance environment’ and trade facilitation for exporters.
In a circular to all Principal Chief Commissioners, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) said exporters who were availing facility of sealing at the factory premises under the supervision of customs authorities will be automatically entitled for self-sealing facility.
It said that permission once granted for self-sealing at an approved premise will remain valid unless withdrawn. However, in case of change in the premise, a fresh approval from Customs department will be required.
“The new self-sealing procedure shall come into effect from October 1, 2017. Till then the existing procedure shall continue,” the CBEC said.
It asked field officers to notify a Superintendent-rank officer to act as the nodal officer for the self-sealing procedure.
The officer will be responsible for coordination of the arrangements for installation of reader-scanners.
Earlier in July, the CBEC had said it will introduce the system of self-sealing by 1 September , as against the practise of sealing of containers under the supervision of revenue officials.
However, the CBEC now said that exporters can self-seal containers using the tamper proof electronic seals from 1 October 2017.
Under the new procedure, the exporter will have to declare the physical serial number of the e-seal at the time of filing the online integrated shipping bill or in the case of manual shipping bill before the container is dispatched for the port.
The exporters will directly procure RFID seals from vendors.
“In case, the RFID seals of the containers are found to be tampered with, then mandatory examination would be carried out by the Customs authorities,” the CBEC said.
From October 1, the exporters will need to furnish e-seal number, date of sealing, time of sealing, destination customs station for export, container number and trailer track number to the customs authorities.
In a circular in July, the CBEC had said it endeavours to create a trust based environment where compliance with laws is ensured by strengthening risk management system and Intelligence setup of the department.
Accordingly, CBEC has decided to lay down a simplified procedure for stuffing and sealing of export goods in containers. Source: The India Times > Economic Times, 5 September 2017.
The report, South Africa Economic Update 5: Focus on Export Competitiveness, examines the performance of South Africa’s export firms against that of peers in other emerging markets— and analyzes the challenges. It assesses South Africa’s economic prospects in the context of the global economic environment and prospects.
With this Economic Update, we hope to enrich the on-going debate on growing a sector critical for South Africa’s economic growth. As with previous editions, this report is intended not to be prescriptive but to offer evidence-based analysis that will help bring South Africa’s policymakers, researchers, and export stakeholders closer to finding innovative and sustainable ways to grow the sector. The report highlights opportunities for growth, particularly with Sub-Saharan Africa being the largest market for non-mineral exports. It also explores strategic directions that can ignite export growth and help South Africa realize its goals of creating jobs and reducing poverty and inequality.
The report identifies three areas that present opportunities to promote the competitiveness and spur the growth in South Africa’s export sector:
Source: World Bank
The European Union’s rules determining which countries pay less or no duty when exporting to the 28 country trade bloc, and for which products, will change on 1 January 2014. The changes to the EU’s so-called “Generalised System of Preferences” (GSP) have been agreed with the European Parliament and the Council in October 2012 and are designed to focus help on developing countries most in need. The GSP scheme is seen as a powerful tool for economic development by providing the world’s poorest countries with preferential access to the EU’s market of 500 million consumers.
The new scheme will be focused on fewer beneficiaries (90 countries) to ensure more impact on countries most in need. At the same time, more support will be provided to countries which are serious about implementing international human rights, labour rights and environment and good governance conventions (“GSP+”).
The EU announced the new rules more than a year ago to allow companies enough time to understand the impact of the changes on their business and adapt. To make the transition even smoother for exporting companies, the Commission has prepared a practical GSP guide.
The guide explains in three steps what trade regime will apply after 1 January 2014 to a particular product shipped to the EU from any given country. It also provides information on the trade regime that will apply to goods arriving to the EU shortly after the New Year.
The changes in a nutshell:
For the finer details of the revised EU rules visit: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-1187_en.htm?locale=en
The Mail & Guardian reveals that South Africa has requested an urgent meeting with members of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) for as early as February next year in what could be a make-or-break conference for the struggling union.
In July this year, a clearly frustrated Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies told Parliament that there had been little progress on a 2011 agreement intended to advance the region’s development integration, and it was stifling its real economic development.
South Africa’s payments to SACU currently amount to R48.3-billion annually – a substantial amount, considering the budget deficit is presently R146.9-billion, an estimated 4.5% of gross domestic product.
In the past, South Africa has had some room to reposition itself, but as Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has pointed out, the South African fiscus has come under a lot of pressure as a result of factors such as the global slowdown, reduction in demand from countries such as China for commodities, and reduced demand from trade partners such as the European Union.
South Africa, which according to research data, last year contributed 1.26% of its GDP, or about 98% of the pool of customs and excise duties that are shared between union countries including Swaziland, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia, wants a percentage of this money to be set aside for regional and industrial development.
The four countries receive 55% of the proceeds, and are greatly dependent on this money, which makes up between 25% and 60% of their budget revenue. South Africa has very little direct benefit, except when it comes to exporting to these countries. It receives few imports.
Changing the revenue-sharing arrangement
Efforts to change the revenue-sharing arrangement so that money can be set aside for regional development would result in less money going into the coffers of these countries.
It would also mean that a portion of the revenue that South Africa’s SACU partners now receive with no strings attached would in future include restrictions on how it is spent.
A source close to the department said adjustments to the revenue-sharing arrangement and the promotion of regional and industrial development were issues on which the South African government was not willing to budge.
So seriously is South Africa viewing the lack of progress on the 2011 agreement, a document prepared for Cabinet discussion includes pulling out of SACU as one of its options, a source told the Mail & Guardian.
This could not be confirmed by the government, but two senior sources said South Africa was very aware of the dependence of its neighbours on income from the customs union, in particular Swaziland and Lesotho, and the impact its collapse could have on these economies.
Professor Jannie Rossouw of the University of South Africa’s department of economics believes a new revenue-sharing arrangement is essential for the long-term sustainability of SACU countries.
South Africa’s contribution
He also said that South Africa’s contribution as it presently stands should be recognised as development aid and treated as such by the international community.
Between 2002 and 2013, total transfers amounted to 0.92% of South Africa’s GDP, which exceeds the international benchmark of 0.7% set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, he said in his research.
“It is noteworthy that South Africa transfers nearly all customs collections to SACU countries. Total collection since 2002 amounted to about R249-billion, while transfers to SACU were about R242-billion,” Rossouw said. The South African Revenue Service (SARS) recognises that inclusion of trade with Sacu would have a substantial impact on South Africa’s official trade balance.
South Africa’s total trade deficit for 2012 was R116.9-billion and, according to SARS, had trade with the union been included, it would have been much reduced to R34.6-billion.
South Africa has budgeted to increase its allocation to SACU from R42.3-billion in the 2012-2013 financial year to R43.3-billion this financial year and in the 2014/2015 financial year.
In 2002, the SACU agreement was modified to include higher allocations for the most vulnerable countries, Swaziland and Lesotho, and it established a council of ministers, which introduced a requirement for key issues to be decided jointly. In 2011, a summit was convened by President Jacob Zuma in which a five-point plan was established to advance regional integration.
Review of the revenue-sharing arrangement
This involved a review of the revenue-sharing arrangement; prioritising regional cross-border industrial development; making cross-border trade easier; developing SACU institutions such as the National Bodies (entrusted with receiving requests for tariff changes) and a SACU tariff board that would eventually take over the functions of South Africa’s International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC); and the development of a unified approach to trade negotiations with third parties.
Davies told Parliament that there had been little progress in the past three years on these five issues.
Xavier Carim, the director general of the international trade division of the department of trade and industry, said there had been positive developments regarding agreements on trade negotiations, such as those with the European Union and India on trade, and progress had been made on the development of SACU institutions, but progress was slow on the other issues.
Davies told Parliament it was difficult to develop common policy among countries that varied dramatically in economic size, population and levels of economic, legislative and institutional development.
He cited differences over approaches to tariff settings as an example.
“South Africa views tariffs as tools of industrial policy, while for other countries tariffs are viewed as a source of revenue,” Davies said.
A proposal that cause all the problem
“A key problem that led to differences was the proposal by one member for lower tariffs to import goods from global sources that were cheapest, which ultimately undermined the industry of another member. This was primarily an issue of countries who viewed themselves as consumers rather than producers.”
The South African government is trying diplomacy as its first option. A senior government source said issues around SACU made up a large part of talks last week between Botswana and South Africa on the establishment of co-operative agreements on trade, transport and border co-operation.
Catherine Grant of the South African Institute of International Affairs said Botswana had long been considered the leader of the four countries. It would make sense for South Africa to bring Botswana on board before the meeting.
Grant said the SACU agreement needed to be re-examined and modernised.
“There needs to be a review of the revenue-sharing formula that is less opaque and is easier to understand. The present system is complicated, making it hard to work out exactly how much countries are getting. It’s clear that Rob Davies feels hamstrung by SACU and has done for some time, because decisions cannot be made without the agreement of all five members, who have different needs and requirements.”
The trade balance is one of the elements that resulted in South Africa’s current account, which has recorded significant deficits in recent months, coming in as high as 6.5% of GDP in the second quarter of 2013.
Trade between South Africa and SACU has always been recorded, but for historical reasons it has been kept separate from official international trade statistics. Source: Mail & Guradian
South Africa accounted for 70,1% of Namibia’s imports, followed by the Euro zone, Switzerland, Botswana and China; accounting for 3,6%, 3,5%, 2,9% and 2,8% respectively.
The remaining 17,1% was sourced from other countries such as the United Kingdom, Tanzania, United States of America, Zambia and other countries around the world, according to the September issue of the Bank of Namibia Quarterly Bulletin.
With regard to exports, Botswana, emerged the leading destination for Namibia’s exports during the second quarter. Botswana absorbed 19,6% of Namibian exports, overly dominated by rough diamonds. In the past, this position was exchanged between South Africa and the UK.
This followed a 10 year sales agreement between Botswana and De Beers that was signed in September 2011. South Africa, the Euro Area, UK, Switzerland, Angola and the US also remained prominent destinations for Namibia’s exports during the second quarter.
Namibia exported 14,4% of products to South Africa, 13, 2% to the Euro Area, 8,4% to Switzerland, 7,7% to Angola and 5,6% to the US. Countries such as China, Singapore, United Kingdom, Zambia and others also absorbed a noticeable portion of the Namibian exported commodities during the quarter under review.
Net services receipts recorded a net outflow on a quarterly and yearly basis during the second quarter of 2013, largely on account of net payments in other private services. The net services registered a deficit of N$88 million, year on year, during the quarter under review from a surplus of N$39 million.
The quarterly deficit balance was mainly reflected in the higher net outflows of other private services sub-category, which surged by four percent, quarter on quarter, to N$515 million and by 22,8% year on year. The outward movements of net services was however offset by the increased net inflows of travel services category that rose slightly by 1,1% and 11,6% quarter on quarter and year on year, respectively to N$761 million. Source: New Era (Namibia)
The Financial Surveillance Department of the South African Reserve Bank has announced that the electronic export monitoring system will be implemented on 3 January 2011 and that the Forms F178 will be withdrawn from that date.
Consequently, exporters will be exempted from the provisions of Exchange Control Regulation 6(10)(a) and Authorised Dealers will no longer be required to confirm the receipt of export proceeds, unless directed to do so by the Financial Surveillance Department.
As a further administration relief to Authorised Dealers, all attested Forms F178 not acquitted by 3 January 2011, may be disregarded. Exchange Control Regulations 6(10)(a), (b) and (c) will, in due course, be amended and the reference to the Form F178 withdrawn.
The electronic export monitoring system is dependent on the correct capturing and reporting of the mandatory Exporter Code and the Unique Consignment Reference (UCR).
The introduction of the electronic export monitoring system will necessitate a number of changes to the Exchange Control Rulings, which amendments will be made in due course.