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Thread: Legal Requirements and Entry Barriers to importing and selling goods from abroad

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    Legal Requirements and Entry Barriers to importing and selling goods from abroad

    Hi All

    I've been following some of the threads on this forum for some time now, and have been impressed with the level of debate and information which is shared.

    As a resolution for this year I'd like to pursue the starting of a small business.. One idea which has been playing in the back of mind involves the importing of a product from abroad and distributing it locally. ie: Act as the middleman hence removing the cost of production.

    What I'm unclear on is what stumbling blocks may exist when setting up a company of this nature. More importantly, what legal barriers may exist? For example Import duties? Does one require a license to import products? Does one need to consult with the SABS?

    As mentioned previously I've only just begun my investigation, so any information in this regard would be greatly appreciated. As I find more information myself I'll gladly add it to this thread, as I'm sure there are a number of people who could benefit from this.

    Thanks in advance, and I look forward to hearing you views/experiences.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    The whole topic is rather heavily influenced by what product you are importing. Some products have special permit and licencing requirements. One that I am aware of is pesticides - quite a mountain to climb there.

    Others, not too much more than forex, import duties and paperwork. Although that might be enough to be called an entry barrier already.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Platinum Member Chatmaster's Avatar
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    Hi AgentM

    I know exactly how you feel. Information with regards to imports are total mess and complicated to find. In 1996 I was a director with a imports/exports company. We sold products of a brochure and received an order for 26 containers of Vodka. The end result was that the containers stayed in Durban harbor and wasn't allowed access to SA because the alcohol content was 40% and Vodka was required to have 42% alcohol. We ended up having a huge problem because we eventually sold the containers to a company in Zimbabwe, but wasn't allowed to take it there through SA. We eventually had a large account with Durban harbor for storage and had to sell the containers of 1 by 1 in other countries. There is allot of issues that we weren't aware of...

    My suggestion is that you research exactly what you would like to import and clear it with the authorities in writing The in writing part is pretty serious to, we had huge problems with a shipment of iron that we imported as well, because a competitor in SA gave us a power match and pulled their weight with the authorities to prevent us from importing the steel. We eventually succeeded, but with huge losses due to storage. But the only reason we succeeded was because we had everything in writing.

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    Platinum Member Chatmaster's Avatar
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    Forgot to add, people tend to forget (we certainly did)...

    Contact the SABS and find out from them what the requirements are for regulated products.

    Contact the Port authorities to find out what their requirements are.

    Contact the applicable authority (agriculture, mining, automotive etc.) and find out what their requirements are.

    Note: This is 12 years ago, allot has changed since then, including the freshness of my memory

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    Hi there

    What I can tell you is that you need an importers code to import any goods into South Africa.
    The form is a DA185 form. Go to www.sars.gov.za and go to customs and download the DA185 form. There is also a lot of information on this site that can help u.

    After completing the form take it to the nearest customs office with proof of residence. It will take about 10 working days for you to receive the importers code via the post

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    Gold Member Singhms's Avatar
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    Hello,

    I know its been a long time since this post has been active.

    I was also doing some looking into Import\Export requirements.

    Has anyone had any success and would like to share some of their experiences?

    From my understanding one needs to register with SARS first as an importer and next with ITAC for an importers permit.

    VAT registration and a tax clearance certificate is a requirement?

    and no special clearances are needed unless the products fall into certain categorises like chemicals and second hand goods?

    Would love to hear any other info you may have to share

    Thanks,
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