How you import from and export to the SACUM countries will change from 1 January 2021.
New rules for January 2021
The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.
This page tells you what you'll need to do from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.
You can also read about the transition period.
SACUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement
The UK has signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the Southern African Customs Union Member States (SACU) and Mozambique (SACUM).
The SACUM countries covered by this agreement are:
- Eswatini (formerly Swaziland)
- South Africa
EPAs are principally development-focused trade agreements that aim to promote increased trade and investment. They contribute to sustainable growth and poverty reduction in developing countries.
This guidance provides information on aspects of trade that will change as soon as the SACUM-UK EPA takes effect. It is for UK businesses trading with SACU Member States and Mozambique.
What the agreement includes
The UK commits to providing immediate duty-free, quota-free access to goods exported from the SACU Member States and Mozambique, except for South Africa.
In exchange, the SACU Member States and Mozambique commit to gradual tariff liberalisation of goods. Some domestically sensitive products in the SACU Member States and Mozambique are excluded from tariff liberalisation.
This EPA includes provisions on:
- trade in goods - including provisions on preferential tariffs, tariff rate quotas, rules of origin and sanitary and phytosanitary measures
- trade in services
- intellectual property, including geographical indications
- government procurement
Import tariff rates on goods
Tariff rates for bilateral trade in goods between the UK and SACU Member States and Mozambique will continue to apply as soon as the agreement takes effect. However, in some cases, the non-preferential applied rates may in fact be lower because of changes in the UK’s Most Favoured Nation tariff schedule.
You can use online tools trade with the UK and check how to export goods to check product-specific and country-specific information on tariffs and regulations that currently apply to UK trade in goods. These tools are regularly updated to reflect any changes.
Import tariff rate quotas
Tariff rate quotas in the agreement have been tailored specifically to the UK.
To find out the new tariff rate quotas, see tables 5 and 6 of the parliamentary report.
Rules of origin
Claiming preferential rates for your exports from the UK
Unless you are permitted to provide an origin declaration, you will need to fill in a certificate of origin in order to claim preferential treatment.
Updated certificates of origin will be available as soon as the agreement takes effect from your usual provider, for example chambers of commerce. Certificates will look very similar to those currently in use. They will show the UK as the place of origin rather than the EU.
If you currently use an EUR1 form, you will continue to do so.
Using EU materials and processing in your exports to SACUM
You can continue to use EU materials or processing in your exports to the SACUM countries. The UK and SACUM countries must have fulfilled the necessary requirements set out in the Rules of Origin Protocol. You must also ensure the working or processing you do in the UK goes beyond the minimal operations listed in the agreement and the other relevant conditions are met.
For example, you will not be able to simply package or label a product from the EU and export it to SACUM as a good originating in the UK.
See the list of minimal operations in Article 9 of the Rules of Origin Protocol in the UK-SACUM Economic Partnership Agreement text.
The ability to consider materials from, or processing carried out in, another country as originating when incorporated into your product is called cumulation.
You should check with the appropriate customs authorities regarding your trade between the UK and SACUM. In particular, the rules of origin agreed under the UK-SACUM agreement are scheduled to be reviewed no later than 30 months from the date of the agreement coming into force.
Using materials and processing from other countries in your exports to SACUM
It will also be possible to use materials from, and processing carried out in, the other countries and territories referenced in Article 4 of the Rules of Origin Protocol. Again, you must ensure that the working or processing you do in the UK goes beyond the minimal operations listed in the agreement and the other relevant conditions are fulfilled.
Sending your goods to SACUM through the EU and other countries
Goods transited through the EU will be subject to the same requirements as those in transit through other third countries.
For example, you will be able to split a consignment in the EU, as well as in other third countries, when exporting goods to SACUM, provided the goods comprising the consignment have not been entered into free circulation.
Agricultural safeguard measures
SACU’s agricultural safeguard measures have been adjusted to reflect the fact that the UK is no longer a member of the EU.
Trade remedies provide a safety net for domestic industry against unfair trading practices caused by dumped, subsidised or unexpected surges in imports of goods.
There is only one safeguard measure being applied under the EU-SADC agreement. It is being applied by SACU to EU exports of frozen bone-in poultry pieces.
The SACUM-UK agreement allows for the continued application of safeguard measures applied under the EU-SADC agreement. These will be in place as soon as the SACUM-UK EPA takes effect. Any safeguard measures against the UK can be applied for no longer, and at a level no higher, than if the effects of the existing EU-SADC EPA were continued.
Sanitary and phytosanitary standards
Sanitary and phytosanitary standards are measures to ensure that food is safe for consumers, and to prevent the spread of pests or diseases among animals and plants.
Find information on how this will change for UK businesses trading with SACU Member States and Mozambique from 1 January 2021.
Geographical indications (GIs) protect the geographical names of food, drink and agricultural products.
Both the UK and South Africa’s existing GIs remain covered by this agreement. No other SACUM countries have GIs covered.
The following UK GIs, including ‘transborder GIs’ that relate to the territory of both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, are protected in this agreement:
- Scotch Whisky
- Irish Whisky/Irish whiskey/Uisce Beatha Eireannach
- Irish Cream
- Blue Stilton/White Stilton
When the agreement is expected to take effect
The agreement is intended to take effect, from 1 January 2021 (or as soon as possible thereafter).
Find further guidance on exporting to SACUM countries from 1 January 2021.
From 1 January 2021, the Northern Ireland Protocol will come into effect. Find out how the Northern Ireland Protocol could affect your business.
Freight forwarding may save you time and money if you’re exporting large volumes of goods or high value items by sea or air freight. Find out more about freight forwarders.
This guidance is for information only. You should consult your legal advisers if you wish to ensure you understand the legal implications of trading from 1 January 2021 for your business.
If you have queries about trade from 1 January 2021 contact the Department for International Trade (DIT).
Should you wish to speak to someone face to face, we have local trade offices based around the UK. Within each office you can contact an international trade advisor. Find your local trade office.