The South African clothing industry is the most labour-intensive segment of South Africa’s manufacturing industry. As such, it struggles to compete successfully against imports from low-wage countries such as China.
However, SA consumers are starting to consider quality and not only price when making purchasing decisions, and all too often cheap imports don’t deliver on the quality front.
Also bear in mind that if you choose to import clothing, you will have to source reliable overseas suppliers, which will probably entail trips to their factories.
Legal requirements for imports
In order to import goods into South Africa, you are required to register as an importer with Customs. To do this you can either collect the necessary forms from any Customs branch office or complete the forms on the SARS website before printing them.
The forms you need to complete include:
- DA 185 – Application from: Registration/Licensing of Customs and Excise Clients
- DA 185.4A1 – Registration Client Type 4A1 – Importer
The forms then need to be submitted to the Customs office.
For more information or to download the forms visit the SARS website.
SA manufacturing sector
If you visit the Manufacturing Circle’s website you’ll be able to find out more about developments in the local manufacturing industry.
Want To Start An Import Business – Here Are The Importing Terms And Documents Involved
An informative guide to understanding the terms, tariffs and documents involved with importing.
The following sections will be able to assist you in setting up your importing business:
How do I know whether my product is export-ready?
Your product has to tick several boxes before you can consider exporting it.
I want to start exporting my product into Africa. I’ve made contact with some buyers in Nigeria and they’re interested in signing a contract. How do I make sure that my product is ready for export?
Whether or not your product is export ready depends on the buyer’s needs, your product’s ability to meet those needs, and how your product will shape up against international competition.
In order to determine export readiness, you need to research the following:
- Your target market
- Any potential competitors
- The buyers themselves.
Common factors that would affect the exportability of a product include:
Unless there is a market for it, your product won’t sell. Look at your domestic market for an indication. If you are meeting a need locally, you should be able to meet the same need internationally.
This, however, is not the only consideration. International markets are usually further away, meaning that you will have to add transport costs, and will most probably have to include the cost of import duties and taxes in the final delivery price.
2. Product adaptability
A key quality of an export product is its ability to adapt to suit an international market. Cultural differences between countries could affect the use or acceptability of a product in each country. A product name could have a totally different and possibly derogatory meaning in another language and might have to be changed for that market.
3. Cost structure
The cost structure of the product will obviously impact on its competitiveness. For example, depending on the cost of materials, and whether or not those materials can be locally sourced, international transport costs and customs duties in the importing country will collectively determine the final delivery price.
The more you know about your competitor’s product, the better your position when determining your own chances of succeeding. Price is an important factor in determining success, but not the only way to compete. You can also differentiate your product by highlighting some of its unique selling points.
5. Product complexity
The greater the complexity of your product, the more important the strength of your business. Products that need a high level of support or installation assistance will need a strong local network with trained staff to support them. The investment in setting up a sales and support structure in the importing country could be prohibitive, making it unviable to export the product.
For more information, read more here.
How do I verify foreign suppliers?
Do your homework to reduce the likelihood that you’ll end up out of pocket.
I run a small import business and want to find some new suppliers in the Far East. How do I establish their credibility from South Africa?
It’s essential to establish that any new suppliers that you intend to do business with are credible and reliable. Here are some ways that you can check up on their credentials:
- Use internet trading forums such as that on eBay to establish whether the supplier has a history of being trustworthy and dependable
- Do online research to find out more about the company, including how long it’s been in business for and how long it’s had the product line that you’re interested in.
- What does their website look like? Has it been professionally designed and kept up to date? Does it have proper contact details including a physical address and telephone number?
- If you can’t afford to visit the supplier, contact them by phone or email and discuss your requirements. Find out about delivery times, payment methods and ability to deliver what you need, when you need it. These discussions should give you a feeling for how professional the supplier is in conducting its business.
- Ask for references and check them.
- You can consider using the services of a reputable inspection agency to make absolutely certain that the supplier is trustworthy.
- Obviously a site visit is the number one way of establishing a supplier’s credibility.
See the full article here.
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