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The Trade and Customs Conference, 7 – 9 Nov. and the Transport Forum, 24 Nov

EFA spoke at the African Trade and Customs conference, moderating a session on the future needs of the ecommerce sector in order to enjoy the benefits of greater intra-African trade. The conference attracted attendees from nearly 40 countries. A point made by the Lesotho customs authority struck me – they complained that in order to send textiles made in Lesotho to Durban for shipment around the world, the manufacturers had to pay SARS import tariffs, which would then be returned once the goods passed through customs in Durban. However, SARS normally took months to return these duties, causing a cash flow problem for the manufacturer. This is an example of the problems faced by land-locked LDCs in Africa.

At the Cross-Border Ecommerce conference, reported above, one EFSA member pointed out that his company was forbidden by the SARB from offering escrow services outside SA. Escrow services in the Lesotho example could assist the manufacturer.

On 24 November, the SA Freight Forwarders held a Transport Forum on the growth of ecommerce in SA and the potential for greater intra-Africa trade over the next years. EFSA and SARS both contributed to this conference. SARS repeated its outline of the AEO programme (see above). EFSA’s presentation is available on request ([email protected]).

Alastair Tempest

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