Importing goods into South Africa

timog

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Sep 16, 2010
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31
Hi I'm gonna keep it simple and get straight to the point.

I've bought lots of stuff online overseas and got it sent to my address or P.O B.ox address, but there are few issues: 1. Takes very long 2.Often get taxed and when I do,customs really take there time and it takes even longer to get the product. 3. Sometimes get stolen between the seller and South africa.

Most of the products that I import are electronics. The best experience I've had so far was with Texas Instruments...I bought something from them and within a week Fedex was at my door with the package and I hardly payed much for the shipping.

Any ideas of how I can buy stuff from china...(electronics) and ship it into South Africa as fast and secure as possible. When I used texas instruments to buy products, they handled the import taxes and everything and made it really easy for me.

I'm looking to import orders of R3000 and up at a time. I do small and specific orders for clients so the size of the orders vary.

Please help me out. Thanks.
PS: I think I should get a job at customs, lots of green lasers would go missing then.
 

Vis1/0N

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Mar 10, 2009
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TI+Fedex = cool, a couple of times it was delayed at Supaswift (local Fedex agents) until I gave my importers code and they cleared it up. Other experiences with TI+Fedex and free samples went well.

TI+DHL did not go too well, DHL local could not clear as they did not have an account with DHL global fowarding ( i.e. they wanted to stiff me with import processing fees of +$70). I asked them dump the item instead and let me incur the loss rather than incur their fees.

Do you import at component level? I am looking for NXP mcu's from mouser / digikey - but all shipping options have horrendous costs for a modest order.
 

eshwar

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Mar 22, 2011
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As far as i know for orders above $200 digikey has free shipping to South Africa via UPS or FedEX! and the stuff takes much longer to get cleared in SA than within the US.
 

Other Pineapple Smurf

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Also you need to register as an importer with SARS, its free. Else you need to use clearing agents if SARS blocks your parcels. Just remember that once you have imported more than 3 times a year (think the amount is R500 per parcel), then SARS flags you as an importer.
 

Other Pineapple Smurf

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....2.Often get taxed and when I do,customs really take there time and it takes even longer to get the product. ....

You should always be paying customs, its the law. If you don't like it, then move to the few countries in the world that don't have customs, I think Antarctica is one.

If you have a delay at customs, then phone them with your tracking number. Also don't request dodgy invoices from your suppliers, this is what causes most of the delays at customs.
 

nivek

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Also you need to register as an importer with SARS, its free. Else you need to use clearing agents if SARS blocks your parcels. Just remember that once you have imported more than 3 times a year (think the amount is R500 per parcel), then SARS flags you as an importer.

How do you register?
I've imported alot more than 3 times a year and never had a problem, but i'll register just in case considering its free, but cant find anything on their website?
 

kayvee

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Jan 3, 2008
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Another option is to buy through the official distributors for Texas, like Arrow Altech, or whoever. Refer to the EBG.

Best is to get an importers number from SARS, you are always going to need that, the banks need it for payment too, and you will always have to pay the applicable duties and VAT on the imported goods.
 

noxibox

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Also you need to register as an importer with SARS, its free. Else you need to use clearing agents if SARS blocks your parcels. Just remember that once you have imported more than 3 times a year (think the amount is R500 per parcel), then SARS flags you as an importer.
It's much more than R500.
 

Other Pineapple Smurf

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noxibox

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How do you register?
I've imported alot more than 3 times a year and never had a problem, but i'll register just in case considering its free, but cant find anything on their website?
It's really only applicable if you're importing large quantities for commercial purposes. SARS don't really require it for personal importing.
 

Jola

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It's three shipments of R20 000 (or less). So they may give you trouble if its R10, R10, and R20 001 !

But you can usually get away with more than three shipments, still better to get an importer code, though.
 

Other Pineapple Smurf

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It's three shipments of R20 000 (or less). So they may give you trouble if its R10, R10, and R20 001 !

But you can usually get away with more than three shipments, still better to get an importer code, though.

Yeah, on another cycling forum we do group orders from an online store and at times our parcels are known to get held up till a clearance agent is slipped R300 to have it cleared. I understand that with an importers number one can do the clearance oneself.
 

Jola

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It's really only applicable if you're importing large quantities for commercial purposes. SARS don't really require it for personal importing.

That is what the Act says, but SARS have their own rules (which don't comply with the law, but you can't argue with them).
 

noxibox

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That is what the Act says, but SARS have their own rules (which don't comply with the law, but you can't argue with them).
In fact they typically go the other way, i.e. ignore even very large and regular shipments when it is clearly for personal use.
 

Jola

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In fact they typically go the other way, i.e. ignore even very large and regular shipments when it is clearly for personal use.

Yes, they tend to asume that everything is commercial !
 

timog

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Sep 16, 2010
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Think they flagged me as an importer

Been waiting for something since Feb and usually takes at longest a month when I order from that supplier...some of the packages don't have tracking numbers cause they are small ...like flashdrives and stuff...how do I get my stuff? Or do I just not get my stuff at all? Lol.thanks
 

Wayne_Potgieter

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Oct 20, 2010
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in order to get a customs code, you are required to be a VAT registered business.

I worked for forwarders for 12 years and now import my own stuff. its not easy.

A lot of people are declaring commercial shipments as personal effects and trying to dodge customs. this makes it harder for those that are genuinely just buying online etc.

When you import personally an entry is framed by dhl etc and they use a generic customs code for you (it is 707070) as a rule, customs stop most of the 707070 shipments for further analysis.

Having a dedicated customs code for you/your business means they only stop around 5% of your shipments.

(this is a random stop done by the new EDI system)

With a customs code and no stop, an entry ususally takes a few hours for release. As opposed to a week or two with 707070

Moral of the story, if you are a commercial importer, register, your life will be a lot easier and you will be faster which is a good client service.
 

timog

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Sep 16, 2010
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What do I do if I wanna register as an importer and I'm not VAT registered? As far as I've read it sounds like you need to be registered as a VAT registered business if you have a turnover of R 1000 000 or greater a year, and you can register if you already have a turnover of R50 000 a year, but most people I talked to recommended to only register when you are obligated to do so.
 
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