Dti launches system for SA exporters

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pretoria - An early warning system has been launched by government to help ensure South African export companies are aware of technical changes to export regulations.

The system comes as a result of the observation by the National Industrial Policy Framework and the Industrial Policy Plan (IPAP) of the increasing role that Technical Barriers to Trade (TBTs) and Non Tariff Barriers (NTBs) by developed and developing nations are playing in the global trading regime. 

South African exports are required to comply with a range of standards in order to ensure access to markets. 

Speaking at the formal launch of the system, Deputy Director General at the Department of Trade and Industry, Nimrod Zalk, said the system which has been in operation since October 2010 has many benefits for the South African export industry.

"It alerts exporters rapidly to proposed changes. This makes it possible for them to submit comments on the proposed changes. It also makes affected South African industries and companies aware of possible changes that may be required to its processes in order to comply with the requirements of the trading partner," explained Zalk.

The system was developed and is being administered by the South African Bureau of Standards and works in terms of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreements on Technical Barriers to Trade.

According to the agreements, countries are required to publish and notify the WTO of all new as well as amended technical regulations 60 days in advance of adoption - to allow comments and trading partners to get acquainted with new regulations before they become effective. 

Through the use of the system exporters can join a mailing list where weekly notifications on changes are sent to subscribers on Mondays. Companies can register on the SABS website: www.sabs.co.za.

Exporters who feel that changes may result in their products being denied access to the markets due to unjustified technical regulations can also notify the dti which will make enquiries with the relevant trading partners while the system will also protect South Africa from dumping.

From 1995 to December 2009 South Africa put through a total 172 notifications specifically in the food safety and health sector. China was the leading country to put through notifications from 1995 to 2009 at 11564 also around matters of human health and safety, Dr Elsabe Steyn of the Industrial Development Division at the dti said.

Geoff Visser of the SABS said should subscribers to the weekly emails want to comment, this should be done within five days of receiving the email after which emails that have been collected will then be sent to the dti offices.

South Africa exports iron and steel among other commodities to various countries around the world. - BuaNews