Stamp of origin boosts Nelson Mandela Bay exports
Putting a proudly South African stamp on domestically produced and manufactured goods means making life much easier for Bay exporters.
And when a product is issued a certificate of origin, exporters in turn become globally competitive.
Despite sluggish economic growth facing the national economy, the Nelson Mandela Bay Chamber said it had noted an increase in the number of certificates of origin being issued in the city during the first quarter of 2019.
A total of 3,259 certificates were issued compared with last year’s 2,625.
Since 2011, the chamber has recorded a 30% increase at an average annual growth of 5.3%.
A certificate of origin is an internationally used trade document that certifies that goods in a particular export shipment are wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country.
The document serves as a declaration by the exporter.
Benita Blom-Kotze, director of Bay freight company Producer Ally, said the certificate of origin the company obtained from the business chamber guaranteed that the fruits their clients export originate from South Africa.
Blom-Kotze said Producer Ally’s clients were all fruit exporters and the chamber facilitated export procedures for these clients. “As a freight forwarding company, we have to produce certain supporting documents.
“These [are] couriered to the overseas buyer – one of those documents is a certificate of origin.
“The need for a certificate of origin at destination is used to [ensure] that the correct import duties are applied.
“It shows that the fruit complies with export regulations.
“It’s a basic requirement,” she said.
“It’s always extremely useful when exporting to a destination which has a bilateral agreement with South Africa and it could mean duties are significantly lower.”
Blom-Kotze said there were several types of certificates of origin, depending on the particular shipping destination.
“The chamber issues one set, and those can be used if you go to the Middle East, the Far East and Canada, for example.
“But you can get the same type of origin document issued by customs which can be used for European countries.”
The chamber said it had for decades processed and issued certificates of origin manually to thousands of companies.
Recently it introduced an additional option, offering freight forwarders and exporters electronic certificates.
This is part of its mandate to remain “at the cutting edge of simplified economic development and trade practices”.
The chamber acquired an electronic certificate of origin system that had been tested extensively with some of its members.
So far, it has been widely accepted.
The advantage of using the new system is that it is less time-consuming to prepare the documentation as the process is paperless and saves courier time and money.
Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber CEO Nomkhita Mona said the trend augured well for the Eastern Cape as it showed business confidence in certain sectors.
“We continue to introduce simplified ways of doing business as it is our mission to create an environment where there is ease of doing business.”