On 29 September 2017, the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries published the deadlines for submitting Minimum Market Access permit applications on certain agricultural products.
What is Minimum Market Access?
Minimum Markets Access is an outcome of World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations. South Africa joined the WTO in 1995. As a member, it is obliged to ensure that a certain amount of domestic consumption on specific agricultural products continue to have market access from other countries. This means specific quantities of specific agricultural products are allowed to come into South Africa at a preferential duty rate.
What is the advantage of importing under a Minimum Market Access permit?
If a product is covered under Minimum Market Access it may be imported into the country at a preferential duty rate which is typically lower than the duty levied under normal circumstances. This may result in cost savings, particularly if the product already attracts a high duty.
How does a company get a Minimum Market Access permit?
The Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries administers and is responsible for processing of quota permit applications of the various agricultural products under the “scheme”.
When can applications be submitted and what are the deadlines?
It is important to note that permits are either granted on an annual, bi-annual or quarterly basis depending on the product. The applicant does not decide whether they want an annual, bi-annual or quota permit. This is already set and is different between products. The application deadlines therefore also differ as below.
Annual permits (valid from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018) have to be submitted by 31 October 2017.
Half-yearly permits have 2 deadlines: If you intend to import during the first half of 2018, applications need to be lodged by 31 October 2017. However, for imports during the the second half of 2018 applications can be submitted from 1 May to 31 May 2018.
Market access permits applied for utilisation on a quarterly basis have to be lodged within the deadlines below depending on the quota period of interest:
|Quota period||2018 importation period||Applications open||Applications close|
|1st Quota||1 January - 30 April||1 October 2017||31 October 2017|
|2nd Quota||1 April - 31 July||1 February 2018||28 February 2018|
|3rd Quota||1 July - 31 October||1 May 2018||31 May 2018|
|4th Quota||1 October - 31 January||1 August 2018||31 August 2018|