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Steps to follow when importing into South Africa as an SMME business owner

First things first, please make sure that your paperwork is in order.
We understand that you have found the perfect product abroad and are excited to import the same, but you are at a loss with where to start!
This process can be extremely intimidating and frustrating, especially when you do not follow the correct channels, processes, and steps at the right time in your transaction.
Depending on the product, its geographical origin and monetary value you also must keep in mind that there are various rules and regulations governing every situation on its own merits.

Where to start?

Firstly, you must ensure that you obtain a commercial invoice to import the product. This commercial invoice will give the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer a thorough description of exactly what you are importing and will include detailed information such as quantities and the true financial value of the product.

Accuracy is very important: Make sure that you do not miss out on any of the small details!

The imported product description should be clear concise and non-generic. For example, instead of stating that you are importing a “men’s suit” you should rather indicate what material it is made of, for example: “x1 Men’s Suit: Navy Blue Corduroy Pant and Double-Breasted Jacket”. This is because different materials are subject to different costs and/or import duty rates.
By providing an accurate description of exactly what is being imported, you will prevent unnecessary confusion and delays.

Work with SARS

The next stage in your transaction would be to become a registered importer through the SARS website. When you register, you will be issued an importer’s code. With this code, you will be able to import goods regularly.
SARS will use your importer’s code and verify your goods against the declared price; therefore, you are again reminded of our “accuracy” tip above!
Should you be a regular importer, you will also be able to register as such, which will allow you to import products three times a year.

Be knowledgeable about the country from which you import the product

In China alone, there are 55 states, each with its own unique rules, regulations, and duty fees. It is thus a high risk that suppliers might under-declare the goods to be imported. Therefore, it is essential to work together with a clearing agent from the get-go, who will ensure that they you aware of the veritable value of the goods being imported. This will ensure the accuracy of your commercial invoice.
Should your products have been underdeclared, you could be held liable for penalties and fines, which will delay your shipment for a period of a minimum of 3 to 18 working days.

What now?

You received a purchase order from the government, and you need to import products and/or goods into South Africa and you need the funds to do so, Look no further than the ProfitHub!
The ProfitHub will ensure that your project is executed perfectly with the necessary funds. We specialise in Purchase Order Finance and have helped plenty of SMME business owners execute back-to-back projects with endless success.
Simply apply today!