Agricultural Tariff Rate Quotas: SACUM – UK EPA

Once the United Kingdom Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020, trade between South Africa and the UK will no longer be under the SADC – EU EPA. The UK will no longer be a party to the EU’s single market and trade agreements.

The new trade agreement

The Southern African Customs Union plus Mozambique (SACUM) – UK EPA was negotiated and concluded. Notably, the agreement is largely a replica of the SADC – EU EPA.  Preferential market access to the UK will remain largely the same but with few changes and most notably new Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQ).

Tariff Rate Quotas

A TRQ is a system that allows volumes of certain agricultural products imported within the quota, to enter South Africa duty-free. The same applies to exports of specific products. Volumes imported or exported outside the quota, attract the normal Customs duty rate. Importing outside a TRQ may not be as profitable because of high duties on some of the agricultural products. The use of a TRQ can provide good savings on Customs duty costs and create market access opportunities for eligible products.

Exporting into the UK

South African companies exporting into the UK will benefit from the TRQ’s of products listed below.  The quotas will operate on a first-come-first-served basis. The TRQ’s will provide additional market access in addition to the quotas under the SADC EPA regime. It’s important to note that, some of the products eligible for TRQ under the SADC EPA require a quota allocation issued by The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD).  The export quota applications open anytime within the first 3 weeks of October.

Product SACUM EPA quantity (tons) SADC EPA quantity (tons)
Skimmed milk powder 159 500
Butter 159 500
Strawberries 132 393
Sugar 71 365 150 000
White crystalline powder 159 500
Citrus jams 32 100
Canned fruit, except tropical canned fruit 18 181 57 156
Tropical canned fruit 1 037 3 080
Frozen orange juice 363 1 087
Apple juice 1 292 3 712
Active yeast 111 350
Wine 71 482 900 111 376 700 (litres)
Ethanol 25 448 80 000

Importing from the UK

Products eligible for import under TRQ from the UK are below. Given the significant demand for the SADC EPA wheat quota, it is apparent that the UK wheat quota will also be in high demand. This is because of the high duties on imported wheat. The EU wheat quota gets depleted within a few weeks of the quota period opening. Meticulous planning of shipments is vital to benefit from the quota.

Product SACUM EPA quantity (tons) SADC EPA quantity (tons)
Wheat 30 090 300 000
Barley 1 003 10 000
Butter 94 500
Cheese 1 363 7 700
Cereal foods 796 2 300
Pork 150 1 500
Pig fat 20 200
Ice cream 150 24
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