SA, Canada sign mutual assistance agreement

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pretoria - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and the Canadian High Commissioner to South Africa, AdSle Dion, have signed an agreement on the mutual assistance between the two countries' customs administration.

The Mutual Administration Assistance Agreement signed on Friday, consists of various forms of practical cooperation including assisting in the correct application of customs laws and the appearance of customs officers as witnesses or experts in court cases in other countries.

The agreement also enables for the advance electronic transmission of customs data between South Africa and Canada.

This presents the two countries with two significant advantages, it allows for comparing of data at a transactional level and identifies non-compliance but also helps in identifying and rewarding compliant traders.

According to the agreement, customs administrations have had to keep pace with the tremendous increase in international trade and transport, the growing role of trans-frontier organised crime and the threat of terrorism.

National and international cooperation has therefore become essential, hence the need for cooperation with other customs administrations and other key roleplayers in the international supply chain.

Trade and investment between South Africa and Canada has steadily grown since 1994 with South Africa seen as an important destination for exports on the African continent.

In 2006, South Africa was the top export destination in Africa of Canadian goods, this accounted for 33.5 percent of total exports of Canadian goods to Africa.

The country has also ranked second at 10 percent, after Algeria's 60.8 percent, as the import origin for African goods imported into Canada.

Trade between South Africa and Canada totalled approximately R10, 5 billion, with South African exports R3.1billion and Canada's exports R7.3 billion in 2008.

South Africa has to date signed 17 agreements in Custom Administration with various countries.