APPLICATIONS FOR CHANGES IN CUSTOMS DUTIES
The following applications for changes in rates of customs duty were published in the past month. Interested parties must submit comments to ITAC within 4 (four) weeks of the date the notice was first published unless otherwise stipulated.
Government Gazette 39943 – 2016.04.22
1. Stainless steel flat products, classifiable under tariff subheadings 7219.11, 7219.12, 7219.13, 7219.14, 7219.21, 7219.22, 7219.23, 7219.24, 7219.31, 7219.32, 7219.33, 7219.34, 7219.35, 7219.90, 7220.11, 7229.20 and 7220.90.
CARRIERS PUSH FOR INCREASES
Shipping lines operating between the Far East and South Africa are continuing to experience reduced volumes and are reported to be pushing for general rate increases ahead of a hoped for seasonal increase in cargo in the second half of the year.
Reduced volumes have resulted in service rationalisations, "slow sailing" and the withdrawal of vessels by carriers on loss-making services. As much as 4% of the world’s container-ship fleet is currently thought to be laid up, placing tremendous pressure on shipping lines to increase rates in order to profitably remain in business.
We suggest that clients discuss their requirements on this route with their Bidvest Panalpina Logistics representative as soon as practicable.
GABON INTRODUCES PRE-SHIPMENT CERTIFICATION
Gabon’s long delayed conformity certification system (PROGEC) has been implemented. The system is intended to assure Gabon’s consumers of the quality and safety of imported goods.
Each consignment of regulated imported goods must be accompanied by a Conformity Certificate. Intertek is the sole entity authorised to issue such certificates. The Certificate confirms that the products comply with the relevant Gabonese technical regulations, national, regional or international standards.
Affected goods cannot clear Gabonese customs without valid compliance certificates and shipments arriving on or after 20th May 2016 without the required Certificate of Conformity will be rejected and penalties applied.
Authorities in Gabon may take random samples from imported consignments to verify compliance.
TRUCKERS "EXPECTED TO CUT CORNERS"
The following comments were made in an article in Business Day on 8th April following last month’s large fuel price increases and should stand as a warning that road safety and cargo security cannot be traded off against price. It is unreasonable to expect that costs will decline or remain static when the price of the largest single input – fuel –increases sharply.
‘This week’s increase in fuel prices along with last month’s rise in interest rates will cause truck fleet operators to skimp on investments in new vehicles and maintenance, raising concerns about roadworthiness, Standard Bank has said.
Standard Bank head of vehicle and asset finance Toni Fritz said on Thursday fleet managers who would normally be considering buying new trucks were likely to lengthen their replacement cycles to avoid the cost of new vehicles.
Smaller operators were likely to skimp on maintaining their vehicles, which was "a concern when the roadworthiness of vehicles is considered", said Ms Fritz.
"In regions where competition is tough, many other operators will be forced to absorb the additional cost — again, maintenance and roadworthiness will be affected." ’
From Business Day 8th April
SOLAS "METHOD 2" APPROVED VERIFICATION AGENCIES
Reproduced below are details of entities now approved by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) to verify exporter’s processes where "Method 2" is used to assess verified gross mass for containers.
Exporters engage with the undermentioned contractors at their own risk and expense.
THE LAW TRUMPS SARS GUIDELINES – ATTORNEY
SARS officials tend to fervently enforce internal guidelines however sometimes in doing so they ignore the law.This is by no means meant to be a criticism of SARS officials; they are simply trying to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.They do not fully understand the importance of the laws and would rather rigorously follow the internal guidelines than incur the wrath of their seniors. The reality, however, is that a guideline can never trump the law. Where the Customs & Excise Act provides that Customs must conduct itself in a certain manner, then it is irrelevant that some official has interpreted the Act differently in a guideline. It is also important to know that a guideline cannot impose additional conditions or further define certain aspects beyond what has been defined in an Act. Any attempt to do so is simply
unenforceable and invalid. There are two examples that spring to mind. The first is that the Customs Act in Rule 49B allows that a certificate of origin can be issued retrospectively in certain exceptional circumstances provided that the certificate was not issued before the export of goods due to an error, involuntary omission or other special circumstances. Customs in an internal guideline sought to define what is to be regarded as "exceptional". The problem with the guideline is that it goes beyond what is provided for in the Act and as such, is unenforceable. Notwithstanding the guideline, Customs must issue the retrospective certificate if the provisions of Rule 49B have been met. The second example relates to a guideline on Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR). The guideline provides that where certain technical decisions are made and the importer takes umbrage with the decision, then the matter can be sent to ADR. This is not correct. Section 76B(2) makes it quite clear that a matter can only be referred to ADR where a party is unhappy with the decision on internal administrative appeal or where legal proceedings have been instituted. The primary source of legislation will always trump a guideline so when in doubt, get good advice.
Written by Quintus van der Merwe, Head of the International Transport, Trade & Energy department at Shepstone & Wylie Attorneys and originally published in polity.org which can be accessed here
"Sniffer dogs at Manchester Airport have been quick to spot holidaymakers' cheese and sausages - but they've not turned up any Class A drugs." – Recent UK press report
This communication is published for general information and is not intended as professional advice of any kind. While every reasonable care has been taken to ensure the integrity and accuracy of the information contained herein, no liability or responsibility is accepted by Bidvest Panalpina Logistics or its employees for any damage or loss of any nature whatsoever resulting from the use or reliance upon this information.
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