The South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the United States Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) have agreed to co-operate to secure trade between SA and the US .
A declaration of principles was signed on 27 June 2003 in Brussels by the SARS Commissioner, Mr Pravin Gordhan, and the Deputy Commissioner of the USCBP, Mr Douglas Browning, and came into effect on 7 July 2003.
The SARS and the USCBP will commence with intensive preparations to gear up security measures at SA ports to ensure the safety of exports from South and Southern Africa.
The declaration forms part of South Africa's commitment to facilitate trade and boost economic ties between South Africa and the United States of America , one of South Africa's key trading partners in the world. Once the arrangement is in place, the benefits to SA and Southern African exporters utilising the opportunities of AGOA will be further enhanced.
The management of international trade supply chains is emerging as one of the major challenges confronting customs administrations. The objectives of trade supply chain management are to improve the ability of customs administrations to detect high-risk goods and to expedite the movement of goods. This is achieved by increasing cooperation between the export, transit and import customs administrations in international trade supply chains through the advance electronic transmission and sharing of customs data.
In terms of the declaration, both parties will exchange information and work together to identify, screen, examine and seal high-risk containers and station customs officials at each other's seaports that handle significant volumes of direct container traffic between the two countries.
Bilateral trade between South Africa and the United States of America has grown sharply and consistently since 1994. Total trade has jumped from $1,85-billion in 1994 to $4,83-billion in 2000, making America South Africa's single largest trading partner, according to Statistics South Africa.
In 2000, South African exports to America totalled $2,09-billion, while imports from the US amounted to $2,7-billion. These imports and exports go through ports of entry covered by the declaration of principles.
ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE